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In a speech delivered at Stanford University on October 27, Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance Rose Gottemoeller cited the geospatial analysis research of Monterey Institute of International Studies student Tamara Patton (NPTS ’12) as an example of innovative work being done in the area of arms control verification.

Secretary Gottemoeller explained how Patton, a second-year honors student in the Institute’s Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies program, had taken open-source satellite images of Pakistan’s Khushab Plutonium Production Complex and used a freely available program called Google Sketch-up, as well as Google Earth tools and basic trigonometry, to construct a three-dimensional model of the facility. The model can then be overlaid onto a map.

According to Patton, “It’s important to recognize the vast potential of freely available software tools like Google Earth and Google SketchUp to identify and analyze nuclear proliferation challenges. Such tools not only allow us to create an immense ‘neighborhood watch’ effect, but they also allow students and professionals in nonproliferation to perform their own analysis rather than relying on a few confined sources.”

Patton, whose geospatial analysis research is the subject of her honors thesis, is expected to graduate next year from the Institute’s unique Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies program. The program draws heavily for its curriculum on the expertise and resources resident in the Institute’s James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) and Monterey Terrorism Research and Education Program (MonTREP).

“Ms. Patton’s innovative research demonstrates the power of open source materials to shed new light on complex proliferation issues,” commented CNS Director William C. Potter. “She is doing pioneering work of which her professors and classmates can be very proud.”

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Jason Warburg

Eva Gudbergsdottir