HPKB Sketch Tool


A Plan Sketch Tool from the DARPA High Performance Knowledge Bases (HPKB) Program. This tool allows the user to sketch Division-level COAs. It is based on a commercial GIS tool, ArcView, and has been customised to provide the user with a palate of standard military symbols. The intended use of this tool is as an input device to a knowledge-based system. The information represented in the sketch is automatically translated into a knowledge representation language. Planners require similar descriptions of scenarios.


The HPKB sketch tool has been under development since 1998. The knowledge representation format it produces is intended for use with the Cyc knowledge-based system, but will be translated for use by other participants in the HPKB program.


A front-end to a knowledge-based planning and reasoning system.

Capabilities for the Planning Process

Its capabilities with respect to planning in Verb/Noun Phrase format are:

  • PROVIDE CONSTRAINTS on plans comprising:

    Interconnectivity and Shared Models

    This tool is currently interfaced to Cyc, interfaces to at least two other AI systems are being developed.

    Relevant Scenarios

    This tool has no known SUO scenario, but should be capable of reading a GIS survey of any site.


    Machine, OS, and software requirements

    Needs ArcView GIS version 3.0a. Available on PC/Windows NT 4 (tested), Apple Macintosh MacOS (tested) and Unix (not tested).

    Implementation Languages

    ArcView 3.0a Script Language - Avenue. Scripts are portable across all ArvView platforms (PC, Mac, Unix).


    Potentially available for US governent purposes as a product of the DARPA HPKB program.

    Web Resources


    This tool is not designed to display plans generated by another tool. This would only be possible if the plan were represented in the ArcView file format. The output of the sketch contains no temporal information about the sequence of events, that information is derived from the textual representation of the COA.

    John Li (jli@teknowledge.com) of Teknowledge notes:

    1. The sketch tool was designed for sketches of COA at several echelon levels, including division, brigade, regiment, battalion and company. It can be altered to work at even lower levels;
    2. The sketch tool was developed with the ArcView script language - Avenue. The result is a very flexible system with a very small footprint, compared to other heavy-weighted systems such as ModSAF;
    3. ArcView and other ESRI products (map and tools) can provide more GIS information and analysis if needed. Information can be transmitted to and from ArcView to other systems through sockets or other telecom protocols.