GIS - GeoEnabled Decision Making
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GIS - GeoEnabled Decision Making

By Darrell R. Robertson, GeoReadiness IGI&S Enterprise Program Manager, U. S. Navy

Darrell R. Robertson, GeoReadiness IGI&S Enterprise Program Manager, U. S. Navy

Every asset on a United States Navy shore installation has a location, specifically real property such as land, buildings, roads and utilities that are the focus of Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness (FIAR) goals for existence and completeness. Existence means the asset is validated as actually being there and completeness refers to associated documentation on the asset to include the date it was constructed, its purpose and its value. The Navy maintains more than 70,000 buildings and non-building structures, such as parking lots and bus shelters, in addition to more than 12,000 utility systems, 112 runways with 245 hangars, and 408 piers located on 717,336 acres with a plant replacement value greater than $240 billion. This infrastructure supports approximately 1.5 million active duty Sailors and family members, reservists, civilians, and retirees. Each of these real property assets have a point on the Earth that can be mapped and coupled with pertinent information. This is called geospatial information. The industry standard for exploiting geospatial information is to use a Geographic Information System (GIS).Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Asset Management employs GIS technology to use, catalog, visualize, analyze, and interact with Navy shore assets to manage the shore more effectively and efficiently on behalf of the U.S. Navy and Naval Installations Command. The NAVFAC GIS is registered as the Regional Shore Installation Management System (RSIMS) and it is a knowledge management system connected to authoritative business databases, which are owned and maintained by others. The people, data, processes and systems used for the global Navy shore mission are collectively called the GeoReadiness Installation Geospatial Information and Services (IGI&S) Enterprise.

The GeoReadiness IGI&Steam, distributed across nine Facility Engineering Commands, collects and validates asset location and other information on Navy shore installations using the latest innovative techniques. This geographic information is used for installation base maps and analysis that support public safety, emergency management, base operations, maintenance, installation master planning, range management, explosive site management, public works, environmental compliance, installation security, anti-terrorism force protection, energy sustainability, facilities management, air and port operations and many other Navy operational missions. Our geo-information products provide standardized and timely information, disseminate knowledge, communicate importance, support decision making, illustrate time, display status and performance and show the future through web applications and story maps. The GeoReadiness enterprise enables interoperability among multiple business systems and delivers authoritative geospatial data and products to a wide range of DoD and non-DoD customers. The NAVFAC GeoReadiness team uses GIS to turn data into information through maps that, when integrated with other business systems, produce knowledge, and when shared, increase understanding. Our goal is twofold 1) to leverage spatial analytics into standard workflows, 2) to use GIS technology to help the Navy make better informed decisions based on the best available information and analysis.

NAVFAC’s GIS is a powerful knowledge management system that is integrated with NAVFAC's key business systems and maintains a common data set for all Navy installations. GIS analysts use these intelligent datasets to identify patterns, trends and relationships not immediately obvious in tabular data. For example, storm surge inundation model data was used to quickly identify "at-risk" shore assets that need to be protected before a storm's arrival or to aid in siting future development to protect Navy assets. GIS analytics are also used to identify and evaluate strategic lay down opportunities related to spatial analyses of threat, time, distance and constraints, and to enhance shore integration of new weapons platforms. In addition, GIS base maps are leveraged by auditors to expand their reach through a virtual inventory of Navy assets. Real Property FIAR auditors were excited to learn how quickly they could perform many more existence and completeness evaluations of assets virtually and then validating the results through conducting a few sample audits on the ground. The goal for employing GIS is to leverage it as a decision support system of systems that enables users to access and update disparate information in authoritative databases and graphically display the results to ensure accurate, timely and accessible shore installation maps. The outcomes are better decisions and the ability to identify potential applications that enable more effective and efficient shore management.

Other examples include how GIS has helped drive decision-making across the Navy include annual grounds maintenance mapping. An inventory of all grounds within an installation fence line is maintained to capture size, maintenance and service type. The installation summaries of these grounds maintenance reports help drive costs and support funding requirements. Handicap accessibility mapping at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center provided a complete inventory of handicap accessible sidewalks and ramps used to drive a map product that is included in the welcome package for every patient admitted to the hospital outlining accessible routes. Environmental mapping is key to delineating critical habitats, conducting emergency spill response, displaying impervious surfaces for watershed modeling, and Bird and Wildlife Aircraft Strike Hazard Mitigation modeling to protect Naval aviation from potential bird and wildlife impacts during take-offs and landings.

To further the reach of the spatial products created by the GeoReadiness IGI&S Enterprise, web applications are constantly being deployed to disseminate information in a dynamic manner. These web applications may be as simple as a tailored map to answer a single question, or a story map that is narrative focused to deliver maps in a presentation-like manner, to even a custom dashboard highlighting key metrics dynamically in relation to a map and provided visualization tools to give more meaningful insight to tabular based reporting.

The use of GIS is gaining traction across the Navy. On the eve of July 4, the Honorable Phyllis L. Bayer, assistant secretary of the Navy Energy, Installations and Environment, engaged to strengthen our shore in support of National Defense by sending a note to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John M. Richardson, recommending the use of GIS capability to support the Navy Infrastructure Strategy. Her observations and recommendations fully embrace and leverage technology at all levels of the shore’s infrastructure and operations. Bayer elaborates further by stating it is a proven best practice that with modernization, we (Navy) will improve our business processes, shrink our footprint, increase productivity, and lower our long-term costs. NAVFAC stands ready to support those goals and strives to provide a holistic spatial approach to the Navy mission by working with industry and Defense Department partners to integrate GIS authoritative databases containing proven spatial and tabular based information in an easy to understand and distributed format.

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