PowerCase Visual Analytics
Xanalys has a long history in the development of software tools for the visualisation and analysis of graph-based data. Going back to the “Harlequin days” in the early 1990’s, Watson was used by dozens of agencies to draw link charts, import spreadsheet data for telephone call analysis, and connect to databases to query and visualise intelligence information.
The associations between entities is obviously vitally important to investigators and intelligence analysts, so directly integrating tools to quickly reveal and drill into these links provides the PowerCase users not only ability to see how the entities they are investigating are related, but also how the processes and direction of the investigation are unfolding.
Part of our modernisation programme to offer .NET/web support for our PowerCase platform has been inclusion of visualisation of investigative data in a browser.
Visualising information from any particular investigation provides useful insight into the associations and activities of those entities involved in the case. Extending this across cases provides entirely new insights into how individuals are involved in multiple incidents.
In the following chart, a search for a Person using their Surname/Given Name has been run across cases and the results displayed. The individual clusters reveal information concerning individual investigations.
To this chart, a set of “clustering” algorithms are applied by the user to virtually merge objects that are common across the chart e.g. telephone numbers, email addresses, locations, vehicles. This pulls the clusters together via the merged objects, demonstrating not only that these objects occurred in multiple cases, but drawing their associated objects together as also related.
On finding such outcomes, the managers of the different cases can collaborate to establish if the analytical findings lead to new directions in their cases.
A unique aspect of the data schema that underlies all PowerCase solutiosn is that every aspect of the case is represented as a graph, i.e. objects and links. This not only includes investigative objects such as people, events, telephones, locations, and vehicles, etc., but the staff, documents, tasks, offences, decision notes, disclosure packs that map the activities of the investigative team and the information they collect.
The following chart demonstrates how the system can answer basic questions such as “what is the sources of this information?” or “why was this information collected?
- The details and participants in these Events were derived from the contents of Paul Stephens interview, which itself was taken as a result of the Action A1 – “Interview Manager Paul Stephens.
- The guest list attached to Officer Report R2A, was a result of the Action A14, which itself was derived from Statement S1, etc.
Dissemination is the last step of the Intelligence Cycle. Having collected, processed, and analysed the data, the data or findings can be shared with other users and interested parties.
Broadly, this can take two different forms (i) a query that generates the content of the chart, or (ii) a snapshot of the relationships at this point in time. While the first may display a different chart at a later time, a snapshot reveals what was known at that time. One way to generate a snapshot is to simply generate a PDF document containing the chart – this feature is available directly from the application toolbar.
We will be adding many new capabilities and features to the PowerCase Analytics charts in the near future, including a “bread-crumb” feature to allow users to inspect each step they took in generating any particular chart.