A geospatial technology firm working in the defence, maritime insurance and cruise industries is to be mentored on an AI scheme by GCHQ in order to help communities and businesses.

Bristol-based tech startup Geollect, which is comprised of former UK and US Intelligence Communities professionals is one of 10 companies chosen to take part in the mentoring programme being run by the UK’s intelligence, security and cyber agency.

The aim of the scheme is to develop creative products based on data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques that have the potential to help communities and businesses, for instance lowering the spread of fake news or countering people trafficking.

As part of the programme, Geollect will be working with GCHQ software engineers and scientists to develop their innovative media insight and sentiment analysis tool called MOSAIC.

The platform uses machine learning and automation to process vast amounts of open source data from the internet. It provides an understanding of the sources of information in society and how different narratives and fake news spread.

CEO Cate Gwilliam said the company’s selection represents a huge opportunity to learn from some great minds, “we want to use this as a springboard to scale our machine learning solutions to the next level and make a real difference in the UK and the US. We’ve generated significant interest in our software and we’re excited to use the Co-Lab to further validate our capabilities.”

A GCHQ spokesperson said the 12-week programme “will give these companies, using cutting-edge tech, unique access to GCHQ technologists to help hone their products – from helping to prevent the spread of fake news to countering people trafficking.”

The GCHQ Innovation Co-Lab is a joint venture with The Landing, a tech mentorship hub based in MediaCityUK in Greater Manchester and global tech accelerator UP Ventures.