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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Engineers Introduce Tyndall to GeoBase Maps
By Staff Sgt. Timothy R. Capling

Tyndall Air Force Base, FL -- The Civil Engineering squadron here has unveiled a technology that will assist people on base in a wide range of areas from tasks as simple as providing a map for a lost friend, to opening a civil engineer work order for building managers.

According to the Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency Headquarters here, GeoBase is an Air Force program that utilizes a Geographic Information System which is a system capable of capturing, storing, maintaining, displaying and analyzing geographically referenced data.

"It's a lot like the Air Force's localized version of Google Earth," said Wes Smith, the GeoBase integration officer for the 325th CES.

"It's a utility mapping tool for the whole base," Mr. Smith said.

The system will allow anyone on the base' s computer network to view an aerial map of Tyndall, or a traditional graphic map. Users can zoom in and out using one of the wide variety of tools found on the map's toolbar.

Unlike Google Earth, users can also use tools such as the drawing tool to create or edit a portion of the base map to provide driving directions for visitors or drill down for information on individual facilities.

"It empowers everyone on base to provide their commanders with a specific map," Mr. Smith said. "You can also use the Web site in a conference and briefings to show an exact area on the installation that is being referenced."

"GeoBase is a dynamic tool that has an almost unlimited potential to disseminate and coordinate information," said Mr. Smith.

In addition to the mapping tool, the site also allows building managers to file civil engineer work orders online using an automated Air Force form 332. The automated process provides building managers a traceable system for work orders they have filed.

Using the automated 332 form combined with the mapping tool, building managers can see which work orders are opened or closed for their facility. They can see which stage each work order is in whether it is pending or complete by merely finding their building on the map and clicking on it with the proper tool.

Currently the automated form is still in its testing phase and not yet available for building managers to use so for the time being, they are manually completing the forms. The automated system is expected to be available by the end of the fiscal year.

"Tyndall is one of the first bases in the nation to employ this system," Mr. Smith said. "So far there are only three other bases using it."

"It's a great leap forward for our customers," said 2nd Lt. Nick Saccone, a programmer with the 325th CES operations flight. "Now building managers can trace their work orders from beginning to end which will speed up the process."

Randy Shircel, deputy chief of the services squadron here used the system in the test phase and was pleased with the results.

"It's really easy to use," Mr. Shircel said, "Once fully implemented, it will be very useful to commanders, deputies and especially for building managers that are in charge of multiple facilities."

"There is much more to the GeoBase system from an Air Force prospective, and is being implemented globally as GeoReach," said Mr. Smith. "We're just implementing local tools that are under the umbrella of installation GeoBase and will be useful to the people on base, but the overall program will standardize Geographic Information Systems for the entire Air Force."

The GeoBase concept was started at the Air Force Academy in the late 1990s by the now-retired colonel, Brian Cullis.

The GeoBase system can be accessed from any computer on the base network by going to https://geobase.tyndall.af.mil Users must have a Common Access Card and card reader to log in.

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