Nottingham Geospatial Institute

Recent research project: D-Scent

D-Scent - 'Raising challenges to deception attempts using data scent trails', is an EPSRC funded project involving a number of UK universities. The Principal Investigator is Professor Tom Omerod in the Psychology Department at Lancaster University. Through combining knowledge from geospatial science and positioning, communication networks and forensic and cognitive psychology, the project is exploring issues associated with exposing deception in counter-terrorism using a game played on mobile phones. The game involves construction teams building a virtual Olympics facility within which is embedded a terrorist cell and is played using GPS enabled mobile phones. The wider aim is to develop new methods for use by the police and security services to foil terrorist attacks before they are executed, to identify people and networks who might be preparing for, or undertaking, an attack, and to provide clear evidence that can be used to justify questioning, arrests and prosecutions, investigating whether deception can be identified and proved from ‘scent trails’ (tracked movements, communications and behaviours).

Researchers will investigate whether deception can be identified from suspects' movements, communications and behaviours. The experimental lab is a location based game, challenging players to construct the Olympic stadium facilities whilst cutting corners - however there is a terrorist cell also masquerading as workers. The researchers will also conduct interviews to assess public awareness of, and response to, monitoring and surveillance in counter-terrorism.

NGI is developing the framework for the live D-Scent experiments, with the game being played initially on the University of Nottingham's main campus. Establishing an infrastructure for the game features has led to the development of the 'Reality Markup Platform' (RAMP) initiative.

Project partners

  • NGI (Mike Jackson) and School of Computer Science and Information Technology (Bai Li), University of Nottingham.
  • School of Psychology, Lancaster University (Tom Omerod).
  • School of Psychology, University of Leicester (Ray Bull).
  • School of Computer Science, St. Andrew’s University (Saleem Bhatti).
  • School of Computer Science, Leeds Metropolitan University (Elizabeth Guest).

Project runs: 2007-2010

Project website:

Countering terrorism in public places: the D-Scent approach;  Ormerod, T., Bull, R., Jackson, M. J., Bai, L., Bhatti, S., Guest, E.  Contingency Today. 6th November 2007.

Project contactMike Jackson

Nottingham Geospatial Institute

Nottingham Geospatial Building
The University of Nottingham
Triumph Road
Nottingham, NG7 2TU

telephone:+44 (0)115 95 13880
fax:+44(0) 115 95 13881
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