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Air Force BRAC program reaches innovation milestone

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas (AFNS) --

The Air Force Civil Engineer Center’s Installations Directorate recently reached a significant innovation milestone stemming from a five-year effort.

AFCEC’s Base and Realignment Closure team developed and transferred geospatial data for 39 BRAC installations onto the Air Force GeoBase program and was the first organization to complete the Air Force wide task.

“I’m extremely proud of the team and their commitment and dedication to get this done,” said Fernando Rodriguez, BRAC program management division post transfer manager. “It will aide leadership in data-driven decision making and reporting, ultimately saving taxpayer dollars for the Air Force enterprise.”

The GeoBase program centralizes all geospatial data and utilizes modern information procedures and technology to display and query data quickly and accurately. The program’s website also states that it delivers and optimizes agile combat support from a basing space to battle space and minimizing operational risk for the warfighter.

While BRAC bases do not have any active warfighters, the Airmen known as BRAC environmental coordinators find this new centralized platform useful for their daily contributions to the force.

“It gives me easy access to geographic information system (GIS) data for the BRAC installations I manage,” said Christiana Hewitt, a BEC for the former Galena Air Force Base. “I use it to look at real property from all different angles; it quickly identifies base boundaries and gives me a picture of where things are located, such as environmental sites, which helps me with remediation projects."

Before this task was complete, BECs would have to search in different archives, talk to historical base personnel and refer to old data to make potential environmental remediation decisions.

“GIS data available before this effort was rustic, not precise and definitely not up to date with current needs like Land Use Controls, parcels or new environmental issues,” Rodriguez said. “The project allowed BRAC to look at the future needs and decide on what layers are important for project decisions and for future maintenance needs of BRAC installations.”

Rodriguez’s team began three initiatives to revitalize, update and improve BRAC GIS data as a pilot effort in 2014. The team collected spatial information for mission critical layers, completed an accurate geospatial inventory of sites and real property affected by Land Use Controls and established GIS data management processes and standards in a guidance document.

“The BRAC GIS data was deemed necessary to consolidate and update for better situational awareness and reporting to the Pentagon and other government agencies such as the EPA,” said Sophia Rodriguez, GIS team lead.

“It also ensures accountability of real property and real estate that have been transferred, as well as environmental issues that need to be addressed. Many believe that once the installation is transferred, we are done, but we are still managing them and encountering new environmental issues. We are never free of the liability created our past usage of the installations.”

For more on AFCEC’s BRAC program, click here.

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