The Intelligence Advanced Research Project Activity (IARPA) is looking for proposals by April 7 for tools and techniques to more efficiently search the surface of the earth using airborne and space-based cameras.

That’s the laymen’s translation of IARPA’s call for proposals to deliver automated broad-area search (BAS), monitoring, and analysis for the Space-based Machine Automated Recognition Technique (SMART) program. The SMART program aims to automate the quantitative analysis of space-based imagery to perform broad-area search for natural and man-made events using time-series imagery.

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IARPA said the project could yield better intelligence on heavy construction, real estate and urban development, crop disease spread, fires, severe weather, human migrations, earthquakes, and other events. Applications of the technology range from foundational geospatial intelligence, disaster recovery, and humanitarian aid, to automated assessment of land-use trending for commercial purposes, the agency said.

“The objective of the SMART program is not finegrained object recognition, but rather broad-area search and categorization of the evolution of events or activities into discrete time-bound segments that can be automatically identified in time-series data,” IARPA said.

Back in May 2019, the SMART program held a Proposers Day to discuss research problems and present opportunities for potential proposers to build teams.

In a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) released Feb. 7, IARPA said the question period for the BAA will run until March 7, with proposals due April 7. It expects the SMART program to be a four-year effort running from August 1, 2020 to July 31, 2024.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.