The intelligence of measurements and signatures (MASINT), as part of the technical branch of data collection, serves to detect, track, identify or describe distinctive characteristics (in other words, signatures), both static, fixed targets, and constantly moving ones. This sub-division includes such areas of data collection as radar reconnaissance, acoustic surveillance, nuclear reconnaissance, and chemical and biological reconnaissance. Thus, MASINT becomes an advanced scientific and technical intelligence based on the analysis of data collected from sensors to identify particular features of the source, sender, or emitter of data for subsequent identification.
Analyzing the definition itself, let's say that the measurement refers to the metric parameters of the targets. The signature is responsible for the distinctive features of the equipment or object as a transmitter of information to the device in the data collection process.
The MASINT measurement looks for differences or anomalies from the set parameters of norms, defining deviation from the standard as a new phenomenon for fixation and study. So, if the target starts vibrating, heats up or cools down, leaving a trace, or produces any sound, it goes a signature. So any change in the state of the target, which is read by sensors, becomes an element of the database about this target. At the same time, the database can be replenished not only by intentional changes or actions of the target as an object of study, but the MASINT measuring instrument also allows reading the by-products of the target radiation, the so-called "traces" - radiation of the spectral, chemical, radio frequency field. These "traces" form other distinctive signatures for each object, making it possible to identify it based on the data obtained, to reveal specific events, and to identify specific goals.