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Can you solve the photo interpretation challenge?

Do you see a school, an amusement park, a factory, a prison or a market?

Careers fair photo interpretation challenge

Figured it out? Check your answer

Description

The process of identification for this image is based on the geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) tradecraft of pattern recognition. In this instance there are a number of repeating features that allow us to gain insight into possible functions of the facility in the image. In isolation, these features would not tell us much, but as they repeat and we aggregate them, they tell us more. We can then use a process of negative observations to identify signatures that are missing and rule out other functions that might be performed at the facility. We can then apply an inductive reasoning process to determine the most likely conclusion.

Repeating features

  • Three separate campuses with an administration area directly below the top campus
  • Central recreation areas
  • A mosque in each campus (oriented towards Mecca)
  • Towers on the corner of each wall
  • Secure areas/walls internal to the facility
  • Individual administration building at the front (right) of each facility

Aggregation of features

There are four discrete areas inside this facility, and one outside. The three features that repeat appear to be highly secure and, while part of a larger facility, appear to contain the same capability rather than share it.

Negative signatures

Based on this analysis, we can begin to rule out the types of facilities that don’t fit within our observations.

  • Not a school: too much security; not enough classrooms; too much accommodation.
  • Not an amusement park: no amusement park features, such as slides, Ferris wheels, et cetera; not easily accessible.
  • Not a factory: no defined production areas; not enough space; lack of equipment.
  • Not a market: not easily accessible: no activity to be seen; features don’t support this function.

Conclusion

Now that we have identified patterns and aggregated those into a unique set of features, we can apply more robust analysis and conclude that this is probably a prison.

Why?

There are three separate campuses, possibly housing different classes of offenders, with an administration area directly below the top campus. The central yards indicate areas for inmates to exercise. The mosques in each campus, to support the spiritual well-being of inmates, may indicate location in the world. Guard towers located on the corners of walls of each campus indicate that this is probably a high-security facility. The individual administration cells at the front (right) of each building may support the entry of visitors. Car parking is external only – inmates do not have cars. A smaller separate detention/isolation/maximum security facility sits at the back of the core administration area.

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