Spy drones creating data overload

NEW YORK, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Spy drones over Afghanistan are producing so much raw data analysts are having trouble keeping up with it, authorities say.

The U.S. Air Force remote-controlled planes collected so much video in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2009 it would take 24 years, 24-hours-a day to watch it all, The New York Times said Monday. As more drones are added with multiple cameras, that volume is expected to increase.


To deal with the overload, the military is turning to a device TV football analyst John Madden used to scrawl plays during telecasts, a telestrator. The military anticipates using it to outline vehicles or buildings that need targeting, the newspaper said.

"Imagine you are tuning in to a football game without all the graphics," said Lucius Stone, an executive at Harris Broadcast Communications, a provider of commercial technology that is working with the military. "You don't know what the score is. You don't know what the down is. It's just raw video. And that's how the guys in the military have been using it."

By 2011, the newer and larger Reaper drones, able to record in 10 directions, will cause Air Force intelligence collection services to be, as Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula said, "swimming in sensors and drowning in data."


The Air Force is installing a $500 million computer system using television-style techniques with automatic alerts, highlight clips, text and graphics, the Times said.

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