Saturday, January 31, 2009

See The First Open Source Intelligence Brief In A Virtual World! (

About a week ago, I wrote about the Visual Short Form Analytic Report exercise I run in my intelligence communications class each year. I got a ton of interesting and creative projects this time but two of my students attempted to use the web-based, virtual world construction kit to complete their projects and the results are pretty cool.

One of the worlds got trashed (the whole service is still in beta...) but I will try to show it to you if we get it back up. One, however, by Brian Gabriel, survived and is a quite clever take on the typical intel briefing.

To see what he has done, you will need a broadband connection and will have to load the JustLeapIn plug-in (it takes no time and is no more onerous on system resources than any other plug-in you are currently using). Once you have the plug-in installed you should be able to access the "briefing room" in the window below. You can also see his "research lab", another room that is adjacent, in cyberspace terms, to the briefing room. If there are other people there you can also chat with them (though you can only see them if you have registered with JustLeapIn and created an avatar).

Moving around is easy. The arrow keys control the movement while you can zoom in on an object by double-clicking on it. Hold both mouse keys down and move the mouse to look around without changing position. To get the movie to work (Yep, Brian made a movie too. Can't have a briefing room without a briefing...), zoom in on it and then single click to get it started.

Brian built this on his own, with no training in either the JustLeapIn program or in making movies using Windows Movie Maker. He did it all (including the research for the brief) in about a week. For sophisticated inhabitants of virtual worlds, this is going to seem pretty straightforward -- for the rest of us, it should be eye-opening.

For those of you asking, "What is the briefing about?" Who cares! This is history!

Update: I am continuing to slowly post bits and pieces of my paper on evaluating intel. The most recent post is here (with links to the previous posts). I will be wrapping it up sometime this week.
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