From, "Insurgent Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures. Vol III" published by the Imperial Canadian University, War Division, 2088.
What follows is the summary of a former insurgent intelligence director based on an interview conducted by his grandson as part of the "Living History" Project.
First thing I did was set up the room. The room held ten laptops because they consumed less power than desktops. The internet connection was provided through a DSL modem, ran through a Linksys commercial router running a DD-WRT operating system with firewall settings maxed, wireless radio turned off. An ethernet switch connected all the computers to the router. I figured that having an internet connection was enough, no need to let the bastards know which room the router was in.
Each laptop was set to consume minimal power, and ran from a flash drive version of Ubuntu Linux. The "raid" signal would cause everyone to pull the flash drive, throw it into the blender, and hit "frappe." Booting back into Windows and logging on to World of Warcraft gave a plausible excuse for a lan party.
On each computer an IRC client linked analysts to observers all over the continent. I remember when two military aircraft taking off from a southern base were noted by a retired flight mechanic and his two daughters. That family took shifts watching the flightline. Once the rebels had taken out the aerial refueling tankers it became much easier to predict the useful combat radius and time of the aircraft. Except for rotary wing assets that could refuel pretty much anywhere ground support existed. In that case we tried to have people in place to monitor FARP operations.
The single desktop acting as a server showed updates as the analysts input the data. Unit locations, composition, strength, and any notes about them all accessible through an SQL database linked to an HTML map. A hot swappable drive allowed rapid removal of any data stored on site, and a magnet and drill would hopefully erase anything incriminating. Believe it or not programmers in India, Indonesia, or Singapore were more than willing to provide custom software for pennies on the dollar, and provide the source code along with the program.
Open source intelligence kept piling on too. New reports, bloggers, twitter users, facebook updates, we tried to monitor everything we could, and correlate it with events on the ground to paint a clear tactical picture.
The biggest problem wasn't that there was a shortage of analysts, but that there was a lot of data to sort through in real time to provide tactical intelligence back to commanders. Each of these cells I helped set up was focused on their own geographic commander, but often the thugs had their own concept of geography. Recognizing when cross talk was needed between regions was key to staying synchronized.
Building networks of observers took time, and each network set up their own method of communication. Email, IRC, one network used a changing list of code words and Twitter to pass information, one used dead drops at a coffee shop and dog walking park. No one wants to stick their hand in the dog poo bin to get a USB stick or handwritten note.
Finding people who lived near bases, stations, and depots was easy, sometimes it took a little while to earn their trust and secure their assistance. Over time the network grew, sometimes in fits and starts, like when the thugs bombed a school and tried to blame it on insurgents jamming GPS. Anyways, slowly but surely maps of patrol routes became clear, as were the rotating duties of the thug Quick Reaction Force. All sorts of data came pouring in, and we had to sift it, sort it, and file it away in real time plus talk to everybody else who needed to know about it.
After the third year my intel sections were very good at tracking the thugs, knowing where they were based, and pushing that to operational cells to maximize their chances of successful mission completion. Files on thug commanders, their families, and personal lives were filed away in fat digital folders for future exploitation. Sun Tzu talked a lot about knowing yourself and your enemy, and my intel sections made that happen.