Praescient Analytics in partnership with Geospark
Recently, the Praescient Intelligence Intern Cell was given a project to monitor the ongoing protests and general political destabilization in Sudan in real-time. A difficult task, to be sure. Over the last few months Sudan has been an ever-changing landscape with multiple actors vying for power. Officials from the army, intelligence services, and militias all represent different factions within the ruling military council. This doesn’t even include the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), the organization representing middle class professionals which has been coordinating widespread protests. Tracking the SPA would normally be a difficult task, especially given that the group intentionally has no clearly defined leadership, a tactic employed to make it more difficult for authorities to decapitate it.
Fortunately, our team was able to combine Praescient’s analytic tradecraft with the powerful advantage of GeoSpark’s signature platform Hyperion, which combines real time news monitoring with macro-level stability indexes. This helped to give our team a picture of the situation in Khartoum, enabling us to follow the news as it happened. Here, we’ll go through some of the key analytical steps our team took, highlighting how we were able to produce a quality, real-time analytical deliverable.
The GeoSpark team began by standing us up with a Sudan-specific pocket on their platform so we could focus our efforts on the country. On the macro-level, Hyperion provided a color-coded pulse indicator, providing a real-time representational analysis of the situation in Sudan. Our team was then able to dial this down to the meso and micro levels, representing the situation in Sudan’s regions and major cities, including Khartoum, our focus city.
Hyperion enabled us to also track real-time, country-wide analysis, with representations of Sudan and its neighbors, including South Sudan, Chad, Ethiopia, Eritrea as well as others. This allowed us to understand overall stability trends across the region, and how it may influence the current events (and most importantly predictive events) within the city of Khartoum.
Hyperion can also focus on regional-level analysis and major cities. While our efforts were focused mostly on Khartoum, bother cities such as Addis Abba, Sana’a, and N’Djamena were also picked up by Hyperion. Notice the red coding on Aden, a port city embroiled in Yemen’s civil war.
Recently, news on Sudan has been developing at breakneck speed. Attempting to keep track of all the sources of open-sourced media in real time would have been an all but impossible task for a group of our size. Fortunately, Hyperion allowed us to monitor not just where the news was happening on multiple levels, from the country, to the region and even the neighborhood. All of this on a variety of base map layers, including lighter and darker schemes, road maps, and topography. Importantly, the feature also enabled us to look at specific date ranges, allowing us to monitor not only current activity, but also to narrow down past events as well.
Hyperion enabled us to keep on top of news across the country, track regional developments, and localize our news feeds by city and neighborhood. These locations correspond to the green icons on the map.
However, despite the efforts to dial in the news flow, the process was still a massive data dump. Fortunately, Hyperion features useful keyword functionality. First off, the platform populates the top keywords by the region you are searching. For example, if our team was looking specifically at the activity in Khartoum, keywords such as “military,” “council,” and “protestors” would generate. This, along with our outside social media analysis, helped us to decipher the major trends in the region without having to cull through the hundreds of thousands of documents and data feeds found online.
Hyperion Keyword Search – keywords are clearly displayed in the greyed boxes, with relevant news stories listed below. This allows analysts to operate within a single pane of glass to find, evaluate, and make recommendations as to the security situation on the ground, from wherever they operate in the world.
While our team was going through our analytical processes, we were able to identify key players both current and upcoming. This is where Hyperion’s alerts feature proved useful. From here, we could plug in key terms and receive alerts if our tripwires/keywords pinged. These alerts could be sent to us as often, as immediately, or as infrequently as we want.
Analytical forecasting requires a continual feed on the most up to date information. In order to provide accurate weekly updates, our team needed to have good intel on the major leaders, trends, locations as well as the context. Fortunately, Hyperion also had a predictive tool to assist us in our analytic modeling. Hyperion’s forecasting feature helped us to examine how a particular region may be trending in the future, providing a predictive one week outlook to whether the stability will increase, decrease, or stay the same and giving a percentage confidence mark to that prediction for our analysts to consider in making our analytical recommendations to leadership.
Leveraging the intelligence provided with Hyperion as part of their tool kit, our team was able to provide weekly updates to our stakeholders, an example of which is provided here. Key features include: persons of interest, key trends, mapping, major articles, as well as analyst comments and predictions.
Sudan is a complex security use case, one that has deep roots in historical context, rapidly changing political and social movements, and is inundated with social media, news, and data points that must be properly collected, collated, and analyzed within their proper frames of references in order to properly understand the environment on the ground, and to therefore predict its future state. From accurate news tracking to multilevel analysis, Hyperion was a vital part of our team’s efforts to stay on top of the unfolding situation in Sudan. In addition, the team over at Geospark was always available to answer any questions we may have had with their platform, from technical problems to usability. Our analysts were therefore able to produce quality deliverables to our key stakeholders. Praescient’s Intelligence Cell continues to combine our analytic trade craft with the use of best of breed technologies to deliver insight, recommendations, and innovation to our government and commercial clients across vital missions that affect not only our nation, but global stability. Please continue to read our work, and follow us on Instagram and Facebook to be notified of our projects.