ObjectVideo to develop geolocation technology for US government

ObjectVideo, a Virginia-based developer of video analytics software, announced this week that it has been awarded a $15.6 million contract by the Incisive Analysis Office of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), the research arm of the U.S. intelligence community, to work on the agency’s "Finder Program."

The goal of the Finder Program is to develop technology that can geolocate an outdoor image or video from anywhere on earth’s land surface using publicly available information.

According to ObjectVideo Chairman and CEO Raul Fernandez, the proliferation of smartphones and high-definition cameras around the world have led to a "unprecedented amount" of both still and video imagery being taken by everyone, including those with ill intentions. 

"With regards to bad people, terrorists, etc. there is an unbelievable amount of imagery that is collected. Some of that imagery is tagged in some way, but some of the imagery is collected without any reference points, so all you have is pictures or video and it may come from a source that has some kind of hostile intent," Fernandez explained. "As an analyst, you want to understand where those images are in the world and there are tremendous databases of images and tremendous sets of analytics capabilities and analytics experts and that’s where we come in, being able to not just use existing resources but create new algorithms and technology to help analysts really tackle this big data problem."

With that in mind, ObjectVideo is working with a variety of partners on the project, such as Brown University, Cornell University, Carnegie Mellon University and high resolution earth imagery products provider DigitalGlobe, to create a technology solution that analysts can use to trace the physical source of where a photo or video was taken.

"Imagine if there is some footage that is broadcast or some footage that is captured and it’s not immediately known where that is, we want to be able to help the analysts cut the time to process that information down very quickly," Fernandez said. "That’s our sweet spot, that’s what we do in the commercial marketplace, that’s what we’ve done for 12 years in terms of our R&D group and we’ve gotten an increasing number of larger and more complex projects with the government as we’ve gotten more and more successful in the commercial marketplace. It’s a great way of marrying the success in the commercial world with ongoing challenges in government and the intelligence community."    

The Finder Program will take part in several phases with phase one of the projected expected to be completed by June 2014.