Recent News

IDC Seminar: Storydashboarding: infographics and visual analytics convergence

October, 2014


Oscar Bao an all-in-one big data analytics platform includes Lumet, an advanced data visualization module. Lumet combines data visualization with infographics into a ‘storydashboard’; a series of interactive visualizations of the data and predicted results laid out logically and clearly. It is a solution for big data that brings analytics straight to the browser, rather than during the data set-up stage, so users and analysts can work with the data on the fly. Lumet enables users to build and interact with their dashboards in any standard browser and on any platform, allowing them to work on all of their big data. It provides easily accessible insight to the user enabling on-demand queries and ad hoc analytics.

IEEE Joint Intelligence and Security Informatics Conference JISIC2014

September, 2014


Assoc. Professor Simon Attfield and Professor William Wong participated in JISIC2014 in The Hague. They presented work from the Pattern of Life Visualisation Experimentation project on behalf of the DSTL-funded project between IDC and MASS Consultants Ltd., and an initial paper from the VALCRI project on “How analysts think (?): Early Observations”.

VAST Challenge 2014

August, 2014

Two teams from IDC submitted entries to the 2014 VAST Challenge. In response to Mini-Challenge 2, a team led by Simon Attfield collaborated with a team at MASS Consultants Ltd. led by Dr. Adrian Wagstaff and James Bulloch to create a suite of visualisation tools which they used to analyse GPS and financial transaction data of employees working for a fictional company. The task was to characterise regular and unusual behaviours. The work culminated in an ‘Analyst’s Day’ in which IDC staff worked on the problem with a group of ex-military intelligence analysts at MASS’s training facility. Another team led by Kai Xu, together with Bob Fields and Phong Nguyen, addressed the mini-challenge 3, whose goal is to provide real-time situation awareness using Twitter-like data for a fictitious kidnaping case. A visual analytics tool, SAVI (Social Analytics Visualisation), was developed to provide text analysis and geo-temporal visualisation. Findings from SAVI were further analysed in SenseMap, a sense making tool developed by the same team, for hypothesis and narrative generation. Both teams were awarded ‘honourable mention’ by the VAST Challenge Committee. They will present their solutions at the IEEE VIS2014 conference in Paris in November.

€13 million VALCRI project gets underway

July, 2014


Taken from the main MDX news page:

Law enforcement agencies in Europe could soon have a new tool to help them analyse and investigate criminal activity, thanks to a pioneering €13 million project led by Middlesex University.

The European Commission-funded project sees Middlesex lead a consortium of 18 international organisations in the development of a visual analytics-based criminal intelligence analysis system intended to process vast quantities of data and to identify suspicious patterns of behaviour.

Named VALCRI (Visual Analytics for sense-making in Criminal Intelligence Analysis), the system will be designed to provide early warnings of impending criminal activity and support the increasingly complex work of the police and intelligence agencies in the age of the internet and global terrorism.

Using powerful analytics software and data laid out in an interactive and graphical manner, VALCRI will be used by police analysts to investigate crimes and crime-related behaviour, complementing and enhancing current police capabilities.

Criminal intelligence analysis is incredibly mentally demanding and can be very time intensive given the uncertainty and ambiguity involved, explained Professor of Human-Computer Interaction at Middlesex University and VALCRI project lead, William Wong.

“Sorting the significant from the insignificant and connecting the dots is difficult with large volumes of data, and it’s getting more complex as sources such as social media increase,” said Professor Wong.

“It’s no longer humanly possible to sift through all the data if the police are expected to respond in an efficient timeframe.”

VALCRI could provide a solution to this, with the 18 international organisations involved in the project including law enforcement agencies, universities, businesses and research organisations.

Those involved include the Belgian Federal Police and West Midlands Police Force, while 72 scientists, engineers and law enforcement professionals from eight different countries will also be working on the project.

“The consortium aims to design the technology from cognitive, legal, ethical and privacy perspectives so that the rights of the individual to security and liberty will be respected while ensuring the good of society,” Professor Wong added.

“VALCRI will also enable law enforcement agencies to make their processes more transparent, so that the process by which their conclusions are reached are made easier to inspect.”

The project aims to use data to paint a comprehensive picture for crime fighters and help prevent the miscarriages of justice which could potentially occur when dealing with big data.

Mistakes can arise for a number of reasons in these instances. Data overload can pose significant problems, while a lack of awareness of the availability of relevant data can also be problematic.

More information can be found at the project’s website:

IDC kicks-off VALCRI

May, 2014


The kick-off meeting for project VALCRI, or “Visual Analytics for Sense-making in Criminal Intelligence Analysis” was hosted by the IDC. The project brings together 72 experts from 18 partners across 8 countries to research and develop a system that facilitates human reasoning and analytic discourse, tightly coupled with semi-automated human-mediated semantic knowledge extraction.