Design And Evaluation Of a Visualization Aid For Stability And Support Operations

Pfautz, J., Roth, E., Jones, K., Fichtl, T., Karabaich, B., and Zacharias, G.

Human Performance, Situation Awareness, and Automation Technology, Hahweh, NJ (March 2004)

Current and future Joint Task Force stability and support operations (SASO) require intelligence and civic affairs analysis of the attributes of individuals and groups as well as the complex psychosocial and political relationships among these entities. To support analysis in this domain, we have been developing a tool, the Stability and Support Operations Visualization Aid (SASOVA), that combines visualizations (e.g., social network graphs, geo-referenced displays), hyperlinked navigation, and knowledge-based inferencing capabilities to enable analysts to: (1) rapidly profile individuals, groups, and events; (2) assess their inter-relationships; and (3) generate predictions of likely future behavior.

A user evaluation of the SASOVA system was performed using military analysts with extensive SASO experience. Participants utilized the SASOVA system to assess entity characteristics, identify inter-relationships, analyze events, and predict future behavior in a simulated SASO scenario. The results of the evaluation pointed to the value of a multifaceted tool such as SASOVA in increasing speed and accuracy of intelligence analyses. At the same time, the evaluation pointed to the need for additional capabilities to improve observability and traceability of machine agent inferences and assessments, and reduce the potential for fixation effects and premature closure.

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