Analysing the Role of Communications Technology in C4i Scenarios:  A Distributed Cognition Approach.


Dr Guy H Walker1, Prof. Neville A. Stanton1, Dr Huw Gibson2,

Dr Chris Baber2, Dr Mark S. Young1, & Dr Damian Green1.


1Human Factors Integration Defence Technology Centre (HFI DTC)

Brunel University, School of Engineering and Design, Uxbridge, UB8 3PH, UK

2University of Birmingham, School of Electronic, Electrical & Computing Engineering, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK







Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4i) is defined as the management infrastructure required for coordination and planning in situations where multiple individuals, often dispersed geographically, have to achieve a common goal (Harris & White, 1987).  C4i is an example of a joint cognitive system where “intelligent processes transcend the boundaries of the individual actor” (Rogers, 1997, p.1) and information is dispersed among human and non-human agents in the wider context.  A methodology is proposed that is based on the integration of five individual methods.  This enables information which individuals use for decision making in C4i to be captured and represented as a form of knowledge network.  This network provides a powerful representation of Situational Awareness, or ‘who knows what’.   Knowledge that is shared between agents in the scenario can be identified which in turn enables an assessment of the knowledge that needs to be communicated between agents, and how it is and could be mediated by technology.  The method is applied to a live scenario drawn from the UK railway industry, where the level of critique available for the assessment of technology within these intelligent systems is significantly enhanced. 


KEYWORDS:  Real Time Systems, Situation Awareness, Knowledge Network, User Centred Design