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Funding Approved for Piracy, Policing Widget Development

Anti-piracy operation in the Gulf of Aden (

Anti-piracy operation in the Gulf of Aden (

The U.S. Office of Naval Research will fund development of compact Web applications, called widgets, to help international navies police for pirates and other illegal activities on the high seas. The $1 million award to support the International Collaborative Development for Enhanced Maritime Domain Awareness (ICODE MDA) project is expected to be made this fall from the U.S. Navy’s Coalition Warfare Program.

Funding for the ICODE MDA project will support a research alliance between the Navy and scientists in Chile to build widgets for use by sailors and maritime operators to analyze data and other information to combat pirates, drug smugglers, arms traffickers, and illegal fishermen. The Office of Naval Research plans to engage researchers at Chile’s Technical University of Federico Santa Maria to create open-source Web-based tools to improve automation, small-target detection, and intent detection.

In addition to creating widgets, the project also aims to develop a Web portal for nations to visualize and share data and analysis related to maritime domain awareness. ICODE MDA already has projects underway on anomaly detection, small vessel detection, shoreline rate of change, fish density, and oil slick detection.

The developers plan to make the software compatible with multiple maritime network systems so that navies around the world can use the tools and share information for global operations. “We’ll take those tools and integrate them into a widget framework that can be part of a coalition-accessible Web portal,” says John Stastny, an engineer with the Navy’s Systems Center Pacific, and one of the project’s leaders.

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