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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

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GIS mapping important to MCLB

By Pamela Jackson | | February 24, 2011

Editor’s note: This is the seventh article of an eight-part series on Inside Installation and Environment Division.

Learning about maps and geography in the fifth grade may not have been as important then, but it is nowadays.  Emerging technology such as the Geospatial Information System allows users to place data over terrain, and is a tool used by Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany managers to accomplish many tasks.

At MCLB, extra space is rapidly becoming an issue, but before a new structure can be built or an old structure replaced, the request is routed to Damon Drake, manager, Installation Geospatial Information Services, Installation and Environment Division, to find out where things are located and where space is available. 

“The Marine Corps calls their GIS GeoFidelis, and we use it to manage all of the physical assets on base, such as roads, buildings, utilities and land,” Drake said. “We manage the physical maps as well as details about, for instance, how a building is used, how many people are in it, furniture placement, utilities and anything that needs to be tracked. GIS is becoming the lynchpin technology for the way the Marine Corps will do business in the future.”

Drake said people call him the ‘map guy’ because the maps he produces using GIS technology tells them where everything is located here and assists the base commanding officer in making important planning decisions.

“One challenge is creating enough open storage space to fit all of the vehicles being brought back home from overseas,” he said. “If land has to be cleared to make additional space, the trees will be replanted elsewhere on base.”

Nancy Hilliard, public works planner, Public Works Branch, Installation and Environment Division, works hand-in-hand with Drake and said the base has more than 3,200 acres, 50 miles of paved roads, 40 miles of water lines, 64 miles of electrical lines, 24 miles of sewer lines and six and a half million square feet of building space.

“Space is a premium here and my job is to ensure that we maximize our use of resources and plan upgrades, rehabilitation and construction to help maintain the space so every organization has what they need,” she said.  “It is important for each organization and tenant to have adequate infrastructure to support their mission.”

Drake’s specialty is the buildings on base and their layouts, but he works closely with Hilliard to map out where to put people inside the buildings. 

“Some of the considerations for places like Building 3500, as Marine Corps Logistics Command moves out in the coming months, is determining how close individuals need to be to the commanding officer, restrooms, exit doors and whether or not they can cross the parking lot,” Hilliard said.

Careful planning is especially critical with the recent increase of military construction and renovation of aged infrastructure and buildings at MCLB Albany.

“We are currently planning to renovate I&E, Building 5500, to make it more energy efficient and eco-friendly,” Hilliard said.  “The roof, air conditioning and lighting will be upgraded to include day-light harvesting tubes in the hallway to eliminate the need for lighting. Other goals include reducing energy consumption 30 percent by 2015, water consumption by two percent each year until 2020 and using smarter building materials and plumbing fixtures.”

Hilliard and Drake said by working together, they look at each project through the lens of reducing maintenance and energy costs, maximizing the use of facilities and reducing overhead costs.