By Darrell Robertson, PMP, and Scott Ghiringhelli
Imagine being able to query data about specific military installations and immediately receive an accurate answer displayed in both spatial and tabular form based on the latest and best information available. Imagine being able to update that information in near realtime as you discover and validate it.
Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) in partnership with Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC), developed the GeoReadiness Enterprise to provide an authoritative geospatial data management capability where users can go to find the most accurate, timely, effective and useful shore installation data available. The tool is based on a Geospatial Information System (GIS) that provides a knowledge management capability through linkage to other authoritative data systems. And the technology is having a direct impact on mission success.
From late August through mid-September, NAVFAC Southeast deployed 17-person Contingency Engineering Response Teams (CERTs) following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma that hit Naval Air Stations Kingsville and Corpus Christi in Texas and Naval Air Station Key West in Florida. The CERTs assessed damage to support restoration of basic functions such as debris removal and reopening roadways, expedient roof repairs, and resumption of sanitation, water, electricity and communications services.
As part of the CERTs, Disaster Assessment Teams consist of structural, electrical, and mechanical engineers, architects, roofing specialists, community planners and construction contract specialists. Among the team members are GIS analysts. Some of the standard products produced by the team include storm surge maps, flood maps, and facilities index maps. The teams are able to identify every building on a base and assess each facility to determine if there is anything of concern.
NAVFAC’s GeoReadiness Enterprise provides an authoritative geospatial data management capability where users can go to find the most accurate, timely, effective and useful shore installation data available.
INFORMATION AT THE READY
GeoReadiness enables users to Access Shore Knowledge targeting naval shore installations and immediately receive an accurate answer displayed both spatially and tabularly based on the latest and best information. The GeoReadiness Enterprise also includes processes to update that information in near real-time as it is discovered and validated. The result is a knowledge management capability users can rely on to make quicker and better decisions.
The GeoReadiness Enterprise maintains a decision support network of systems that enables a user to access information in authoritative databases and graphically display the answers. GeoReadiness provides a common language and business model that leverages locally owned and operated GeoReadiness Regional Centers, but is standardized and governed at the corporate level. The program provides an innovative approach by ensuring Navy installation geospatial information and services are available as a core capability in supporting the shore management mission.
Some of the standard products produced by the team include storm surge maps, flood maps, and facilities index maps. The teams are able to identify every building on a base and assess each facility to determine if there is anything of concern.
Users are empowered with easy access to precise, up-to-date geospatial information, delivered from a common data and technology foundation connected to location-enabled Navy systems. To ensure that users have the most accurate data, the system is constantly updated by the global network of GeoReadiness Regional Center analysts with input available to users within four hours of being published.
The program provides products and services for over 3,300 registered users across all Navy installations, sister military services, and other defense agencies that collectively access the data an average of 33,000 times each quarter. Its centralized infrastructure and foundation layers allow it to interface with other programs that can add their mission data and then build upon it. Standardized, authoritative data are maintained and utilized by different communities to support their missions.
The GeoReadiness System enhances naval shore readiness to NAVFAC customers, commanders, and CNIC using maps and aerial imagery to layout facilities, airfields and seaports, support emergency management and help Seabees build expeditionary bases around the world. Facility data and location information creates a rich geographic (or geospatial) data source that can be used to describe property, mobile vehicles and materials, and events.
Many GeoReadiness innovations have helped integrate mainstream GIS capabilities into the Navy’s workforce. For instance, GeoReadiness has deployed the GeoReadiness Explorer (GRX), a user friendly application depicting shore installations with the ability to consume external web map services and overlay business intelligence. GeoReadiness also is integral in achieving Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness goals by enabling a Periodic Virtual Inventory linking real property records with assets on the ground using GIS location data. This process improves data quality across the shore installation mission, which is further enhanced through enterprise level Data Collection Guides.
NAVFAC’s GeoReadiness Enterprise provides products and services that meet the requirements defined by a diverse set of business lines and program areas. This capability has been used for mapping constraints related to explosive site safety arcs, firing range ricochet analysis, contingency response plans, and surge and flood mapping in response to hurricanes.
The program was used to plot handicap and wheelchair accessible sidewalks and create a Common Installation Picture at the Bethesda Medical Center from which a map was created that was then included in the information packets given to wounded warriors upon arrival to the facility.
A spatial analysis was completed for bullet remnants along a 1,000-ft stretch of road at Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, Calif., adjacent to the small arms range and serving as the boundary for the National Wildlife Refuge wetland area. The analysis provided baseline data to help monitor range improvements to reduce ricochet and lead contamination in the wetland area.
PLANNING MADE EASY
GIS serves as a contingency planning tool to support mission integration between NAVFAC and other Navy systems commands. Upon request, GeoReadiness provided GIS mapping support to NAVFAC Southwest that depicted the locations of select Fleet Logistics Centers, Navy Exchanges, and Navy Lodges worldwide in order to assist them in developing the third revision of the Naval Supply Command Enterprise Contingency Response Plan.
The revised plan will allow logistics planners to quickly identify Contingency Response “nodes” that could support the Navy’s response in a crisis such as a war or a natural disaster. Naval Supply Systems Command Global Logistics Support needed the maps to be data driven, meaning they could be updated quickly as information changed. This required compiling all information about Fleet Logistics Center sites into a database and linking that data to a dynamic map that reflected the latest updates when rendered. Those nodes were fed into a Common Operational Picture that links to feeds from official sources such as the U.S. Geological Service, the National Hurricane Center, the National Tsunami Warning Center, and the National Interagency Fire Center. At a glance, Navy logisticians can now see which installations are going to be threatened and which nearby installations could provide assistance.
This capability was put into effect when the Southeast GeoReadiness Center supported a NAVFAC CERT during Hurricane Matthew by creating a facility index of utilities, storm surge and flood mapping for over a dozen Navy sites across five countries. By linking property databases, federal agency data, and Navy GIS data, an in-depth emergency response map was generated that reduced temporal factors for disaster assessment and cost estimations.
The Navy is charting the course for operations and advances in the direction of embedding GeoReadiness capabilities in the everyday business of shore installation management. This path is achievable, and most importantly, it will have wide and positive impact on Navy missions.
NAVFAC enables this approach and strategy, and recommends that all Navy missions embrace and integrate GeoReadiness into business processes to help geo-enable their mission needs.
Darrell Robertson, PMP, is GeoReadiness Program Manager, and Scott Ghiringhelli is Media Operations & Strategic Communications Officer, HQ NAVFAC. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; and email@example.com.
[Article first published in the January-February 2018 issue of The Military Engineer.]