Insights: History

Odin’s Ravens and Intelligence

Driving back from a meeting today I was listening to BBC Radio 4’s Natural Histories program, this episode. The fascinating subject was ravens, including one actually talking. No kidding. But there was also a link to the world of intelligence. One aspect of the story was intriguing in particular and that is the role of two ravens in Norse history…

Yesterday’s Social Media Operations

Social Media Intelligence is all the rage, and of course the modern world is astounded at the ability of spectators to film incidents as they occur, and post them on YouTube or elsewhere for all to see. IMSL are doing some interesting work in examining the “lives” of videos posted on YouTube and other social media,…

Stringing together a database

This blog is about an early and mysterious database system that seems to have been used for OSINT and other purposes by the Incas. Not only that but it’s a 3D system using both base ten and, some believe, binary coding.

Historical Intelligence Databases

An absolute gem of 19th century espionage intrigue in Paris and the activities of the Tsarist intelligence agency the Okhrana.

Sherman’s Geo-Int

Great article in the NYT about the intelligence maps used by General Sherman 150 years ago.

The Gunpowder Plot – Terrorism?

Although at the time, and often since, the state naturally chose to portray the cell as terrorists, the plot is better understood as a coup attempt with an asymmetric element than as terrorism.

Eating codes for dinner – SIGINT in the age of Semaphore

But between about 1794 and about 1846 there was extensive use of semaphore-like signalling that occurred on a national level and it is fascinating to look at the SIGINT techniques and opportunities that occurred.

Ace Data Tagging

The business of “tagging”, cataloging or indexing databases has a fascinating history and goes back hundreds of years. I’ve blogged before about some early database systems such as the one used by Linnaeus in the 1760s but there are some other early cataloguing systems that are pretty interesting (for such a dry subject).

Charged with Dispatches

But it’s this particular blogger’s penchant to look into history and derive parallels to modern experience. At the moment I’m looking at how the British Royal Navy undertook intelligence around the period of 1792 -1815, and how they relied upon OSINT.

Presenting Data – Fighting the Russians

IMSL is currently spending a lot of effort developing the mechanisms by which we present analysis of data to our clients.   I think everyone agrees that the same-old-same-old Powerpoint is too crude, too boring and too limited in its presentation tools.  Over the next few weeks we are going to show you some of…