Providing Distributed Situation Awareness to Human and Canine Tracking Teams

Danczyk, J., Eaton, R., Hutchins, R., Jenkins, M., and Irvin, S.

Presented at the 2016 IEEE International Multi-Disciplinary Conference on Cognitive Methods in Situation Awareness and Decision Support (CogSIMA), San Diego, CA (March 2016)


Canines are commonly used for various police force tasks that help a human maintain situational awareness. One area where canines provide an enhanced search capability is manhunt tracking missions because of their ability to pick up a target’s scent and lead a human to a missing person or runaway fugitive. It is common during for these manhunt missions to involve several police agencies that each have individual canine handler personnel that are involved with a search, along with a command post that manages the dynamic events of an ongoing mission. Having a wide variety of agencies and team members involved with a tracking mission makes it difficult to maintain a high level of distributed situational awareness across the entire team. This causes confusion of perimeter, target, and team member changes which ultimately can compromise the tracking event. To solve this problem, we have designed a set of mockups demonstrating the functionality of an interface that provides streamline communication and enhanced mission awareness between the command post and canine handlers. These mockups were designed from information collected through knowledge elicitation interviews and observations with subject matter experts. A functional requirements analysis was performed to map out task and information requirements to validate the interface design. This set of design mockups fueled by the user’s needs increases the chance of providing a future solution that is representative of the work domain and useful for the command post and canine handlers to maintain distributed common ground amongst team members while enhancing their situational awareness of the mission.

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