The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded a contract to BAE Systems to provide a design concept for its urban reasoning and geospatial exploitation technology (URGENT) phase II program.

Under the $7m contract, BAE will help extend the accuracy and productivity of human geospatial analysts by advancing the state-of-the-art in automated scene analysis.

The BAE design concept involves fusing light detection, ranging and geographic information systems (GIS) data sources used to help detect and classify urban geospatial features.

GIS sources will then help to characterise object attributes and function as well as capture analyst expertise using advanced machine learning.

The programme is also expected to acheive a significant reduction in the reaction time between collecting geospatial data and processing it for mission planning, navigation and targeting.

Work will be carried out in Burlington, Massachusetts and Los Angeles, California. It is expected to be complete by May 2011.

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