Navies and commercial fleets worldwide may soon have a new tool to use against pirates who prey on maritime commerce -- an open-source Web application to be developed with a $1 million grant from the Defense Department.
The Office of Naval Research is backing a project designed to compile data on the activities of pirates, drug smugglers, rogue fishing operations and arms dealers. The International Collaborative Development for Enhanced Maritime Domain Awareness (ICODE MDA) will begin work with researchers at Chile's Technical University of Federico Santa Maria this fall.
Data on maritime malefactors will primarily come from commercial satellites. However, Augustus Vogel, Associate Director for Office of Naval Research Global, said in an e-mail that project developers are hoping to eventually include watch data from naval patrols.
The apps will be developed as open-source products. Vogel said that the U.S. and partner countries will be the "first beneficiaries". But, he added, "the apps will be open source and publicly available, so they could be adapted for systems that private vessels use."
Thirteen other projects were also awarded $1 million grants by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.