Multimedia representations of distributed tactical operations
Our society frequently faces minor and major crises that require rapid intervention by well-prepared forces from military organizations and public-safety agencies. Feedback on the performance in operations is crucial to maintain and improve the quality of these forces. This thesis presents methods and tools for reconstruction and exploration of tactical operations. Specifically, it investigates how multimedia representations of tactical operations can be constructed and used to help participants, managers, and analysts uncover the interaction between distributed teams and grasp the ramifications of decisions and actions in a dynamically evolving situation. The thesis is the result of several field studies together with practitioners from the Swedish Armed Forces and from the public-safety sector in Sweden and the United States. In those studies, models of realistic exercises were constructed from data collected from multiple sources in the field and explored by participants and analysts in subsequent after-action reviews and in-depth analyses. The results of the studies fall into three categories. First, we explain why multimedia representations are useful and demonstrate how they support retrospective analysis of tactical operations. Second, we describe and characterize a general methodology for constructing models of tactical operations that can be adapted to the specific needs and conditions in different domains. Third, we identify effective mechanisms and a set of reusable representations for presenting multimedia models of operations. An additional contribution is a domain-independent, customizable visualization framework for exploring multimedia representations.