Woolpert to support USAF GeoBase program
San Antonio, TX-based Woolpert announced on May 26 that it has been selected to provide geospatial data acquisition and production services, as well as related training, in Alaska in support of the U.S. Air Force’s Combat Support Geospatial Information and Services (GeoBase) Program. GeoBase is an Enterprise Program operating at Installations and contingency locations worldwide. It is led from Joint Base San Antonio under the direction of the Air Force Civil Engineer Center.
Woolpert was awarded this one-year task order to collect lidar data and high-resolution orthoimagery at USAF installations in Alaska, where Woolpert has been collecting geospatial data for the last four years. Woolpert Vice President Greg Fox, the program director for the GeoBase Installation Imagery Program, said these nine Alaska sites are among the 36 that Woolpert will collect worldwide this year under the program. The firm has a fleet of more than two dozen manned and unmanned aircraft and owns and operates more than 50 sensors and systems. Since 2016, Woolpert has collected more than 39,000 square kilometers of airborne imagery and lidar data at 190 USAF sites in 15 countries on five continents. That’s the equivalent of Massachusetts and Connecticut combined.
Fox said the USAF GeoBase Program collects airborne imagery at USAF installations on a three- to five-year cycle to achieve up-to-date geospatial data for the Common Installation Picture.
“This comprehensive, digitally accessible CIP data supports each installation, accurately and efficiently managing its built and natural infrastructure,” Fox said. “Instead of roaming the installation in a truck, Air Force staff can access precise, quantifiable and defensible data from the office for multiple applications. Everything on the base can be checked and verified with this imagery.”
Applications for these data include but are not limited to planimetric updates, construction management, flood analyses, emergency response and evacuation, national security, utility mapping, modeling and simulation, and flight safety. The data also are used to conduct installation inventory and site compliance, like ensuring buildings have ramps that meet Americans with Disabilities Act regulations.
Woolpert and teaming partner Kodiak Mapping Inc., a local Alaskan aerial survey firm, will collect high-resolution, four-band RGB/NIR imagery and linear-mode lidar data. Woolpert will establish accurate, three-dimensional coordinates for photogrammetric ground control survey in support. The imagery and data collected will be immediately processed, and an ISO 9001:2015 quality control review will be conducted. Woolpert also will provide training classes and materials on-site, as desired.
Woolpert Geospatial Specialist Dana Dwyer-Torres said prior to the USAF Installation Imagery and Lidar Program, each USAF installation had to purchase its own imagery. Some relied on satellite imagery alone, which does not provide the required precision and accuracy.
“It was difficult for them each to understand the accuracies needed, and some would pay way too much for the imagery they received,” Dwyer-Torres said. “This program is a great value for the Air Force. As the technology is getting better, the datasets are getting better. In the early stages of the program, we were providing lidar data at 2 points per square meter, however we are now providing lidar data at 8ppsm or better, depending on data needs. This increase in lidar density has enhanced the installation’s ability to support its mission through improved data feature extraction, elevation modeling, 3D building modeling and 1-foot contour generation. The workflow is streamlined, and the products continue to advance.”
Fox lauded Air Force GeoBase Program Manager Scott Ensign and the AFCEC Geospatial Integration Office for starting this program and for supporting the USAF, as well as other branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.
“This data goes into a repository at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s GRiD, helping other U.S. Department of Defense organizations, including the Army and Navy,” Fox said. “GeoBase provides consistent data that can be compared across installations, and it supports specific requests at each installation depending on requirements and needs. The AFCEC and AFSOC had the foresight and acumen to pursue and implement a strategic, cost-effective solution, which continually benefits the nation on both a micro and macro level.”