Maintaining Situational Awareness
For military and space missions, law enforcement and disaster response, situational awareness is vital. More data can be useful, but it also can cause cognitive overload and task burdens for users. Since 2010 Draper has provided enabling technologies for the map-based communications tool kit for mobile devices called Tactical Assault Kit (TAK), enhancing functionality and usability.
Tactical Assault Kit (TAK) is a situational awareness solution designed for military and first responder personnel. On the original development team for ATAK for Android devices under the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, Draper contributed to initial design and core software. Draper also worked on WinTAK for Windows, and it developed WebTAK as a browser-based capability.
A Common Operating Picture for Mission Operators and Command
TAK gives users a map-based common operating picture on a shared network. The platform provides
- Geospatial information processing
- Full motion video feeds
- Mapping of areas of interest
- Tools for UAV and air support
- Mission planning
By providing a real-time, geo-referenced view of ongoing operations, TAK enhances decision support. The map-based interface enables users to add context to raw video feeds, such as labelling schools or hospitals to protect against strikes or designating pickup points for evacuation.
Architected for Customization
The TAK suite of tools uses plugins, allowing users to design applications specific to their mission needs. For example, ATAK can connect to sensors, satellites, drones, and smartwatches, enabling integration of valuable data from operators and team members and the environment. WebTAK is a device-agnostic application, designed to run equally well across various mobile and desktop devices.
Draper designed a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) Plugin to enable users to integrate CBRN sensors into TAK, collect CBRN sensor data, display it on a map and livestream it across the TAK network to other users. CBRN plugins for ATAK, WinTAK and WebTAK are operational in the field.
Draper supports non-military operations at the local, state, and federal levels by developing plugins for CivTAK (Android Team Awareness Kit for Civilians). One such plugin is the wide area search plugin (WASP) Draper released on CivTAK that uses Federal Emergency Management Agency icons and graphics as a common language to support emergency rescue operations after a disaster, such as a hurricane or tornado.
Designed for Ease of Use
User-centered design ensures that the right information is visualized in the right way at the right time based on mission objectives and available data sources. For TAK, Draper engineers leveraged human systems engineering capabilities, including
- User Interface and User Experience Design
- Situation awareness and Intelligent decision support
- Human-machine teaming
- XR and Visual analytics
The Next Generation of Tactical Awareness Technology
Draper continues to support TAK, providing global maintenance support, technical services, testing, evaluation and training under contract from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
Our engineers are working on enhancements and extensions of the platform to support a wider range of operational environments and needs. Draper is expanding TAK user experience to include augmented reality and heads-up displays. Draper also is working on TAK integration into DoD’s Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) program, along with numerous other efforts.