Montana company offers innovative surveillance system

Published 23 February 2006

Missoula, Montana was the setting for Norman Mclean’s moving and evocative A River Runs Through It (remember the closing lines of the book?: “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.”). Missoula is also the location of GCS Research, a geospatial security company. The company has been working on a covert surveillance and intelligence gathering system which has only recently been declassified and which is now in full-scale development as a result of a licensing agreement between the company and the Newport, Rhode Island-based Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC). NUWC invented the sensor technology, and GCS Research is further developing and commercializing it.

The patented surveillance system, known as Blue Rose, was developed by the Navy to locate and track nearby events by sound. It employs highly sensitive sensors, control and measurement electronics, and buried optical fiber. The Blue Rose system was originally designed to provide safety and security for ships, infrastructure, and personnel in and around the marine environment. It is currently in place at the NUWC’s Newport facility. After learning about Blue Rose, GCS Research entered into a collaborative agreement with the Navy to evaluate the technology and determine how it could be used to detect, track, classify, notify, and communicate information about moving objects in remote locations. GCS suspected that the Blue Rose system could be used to identify an intrusion from far away if it was integrated with geospatial information technology such as GIS (geographic information system), which is the company’s specialty. Working together, the Navy and company are integrating the perimeter security sensors and detection software with GIS location technology. The resulting system, code-named TRIPWIRE, can accurately pinpoint the location of a remote acoustic event such as a human or animal footstep, or the movement of an airborne or ground-based vehicle. It can also identify the source of the acoustic event and track its movements. These advancements put an important new information tool in the homeland security arsenal for border patrolling and also provide a system that can aid in high value critical infrastructure protection (CIP).

GCS Research has entered into a follow-on R&D agreement with the Navy to expand on the classification capabilities of the technology as well as other next-phase enhancements. GCS has selected Roman, Montana-based S&K Electronics as its manufacturing partner to build the core TRIPWIRE components and integrate the solution with SKE’s advanced DSP. GCS Research says it is actively integrating TRIPWIRE capabilities with on-going DoD and DHS projects. The TechLink Center, a Department of Defense-funded technology transfer center located in Bozeman, Montana, helped partner the NUWC and GCS for the joint research and aided in the subsequent licensing agreement.

-read more in this news release; and this report