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USACE brings together geospatial capabilities for the Army. BY JOYCE P. MARTIN, U.S. Army Geospatial Center


he U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Army Geospatial Center (AGC), a direct-reporting center, is equipping the Army to win against conflict by aligning geospatial data, standards, and development in such a way that lays the foundation for developments like 3D terrain data. Many people are not aware of USACE’s mission to research and develop geospatial technology for warfighters through AGC. The AGC has been creating an understanding of the where and what of natural features, cultural features, and military capabilities that has been fundamental to the success of the Army since 2009. “‘One World Terrain’ is developed in unison with the Army Geospatial Enterprise,” said Maj. Gen. Maria Gervais, lead of the Synthetic Training Environment Cross Functional Team, Army Futures Command. “The single shareble geospatial framework, as well as the broader





Left: Ruben Hernandez, an Army Geospatial Center (AGC) physical scientist, collects aerial imagery at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California. The AGC specializes in the collection, use, storage, and dissemination of high-resolution aerial, terrestrial, 3D data representation and satellite imagery, and sensor data from electrooptical, hyperspectral, LIDAR, and other geo-sensors. Above: The Multifunctional Assessment Reconnaissance Vessel is a cutting-edge, unmanned vessel designed for surface and subsurface port inspections, obstacle detection, and precision data capture.

geospatial/GEOINT [geospatial-intelligence] community ensures a validity and accuracy of 3D data and tools.” Army operations are no different than FedEx, UPS, or DHL in that each manages planes, trains, and automobiles along with people, who need to come together in a place to make things happen. Similarly, the Geospatial Information Systems that the Army uses hinge upon “a where and a when,” said Col. David Hibner, AGC commander. “We work behind the scenes to produce guidance for standards, to fight for architecture that doesn’t drain the network, and to deliver data analytics to customers in and outside of the military services through warfighter support, systems acquisition and support, and the Geospatial Research Laboratory,” he said. The Warfighter Support Directorate provides geospatial engineering support tailored to Mission Command systems and Programs of Record. This team maintains and expands geospatial data that powers Army systems. The common map background repository is one AGC tool that geospatial specialists use for location data during military operations. The Systems Acquisition and Support Directorate synchronizes policies and manages geospatial integration and prototyping. This team supports the development and integration of the Army Geospatial Enterprise to lend geospatial intelligence expertise to develop and field tools for an array of military operations. And finally, the USACE Geospatial Research Laboratory, which is actually a part of the Engineering Research and Development Center, works in tandem, co-located in Alexandria, Virginia, to deliver cuttingedge geospatial research such as automated generation of 3D photogrammetry products for decision support and mission planning. This small, agile team sustains geospatial data, discovers better ways to conduct business through emerging technology, manages the Army Geospatial Enterprise, produces guidance for standards and architecture that doesn’t drain the network, and finally, delivers data analytics to customers in and outside of the services. n

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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Building Strong, Serving the Nation and the Armed Forces, 2020-2021  

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