Redstone Report: System records geographic data

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - When it comes to formally used defense sites, what's under the ground is really up on the air. Old military test sites can be home to buried missiles, bombs, or pieces of projectiles.

Finding all those weapons is one thing, but tracking and logging all that information is another. That's where enterprise geographic information system, or GIS, comes in.

George Wade, a geologist GIS analyst describes it as, "...not about finding things, it's about putting the stuff you find into a system where you can check out on your map."

When those maps are pulled up, you can find out almost anything about a site, like how dangerous it is or what's in the soil. Wade remarks, "We have over 15,000 soil samples to collect to make sure these sites are clean to turn back over to local governments."

The area is pinpointed, plotted, and analyzed. Then, the data is made available to agencies and installations across the world. Jay Plucker, an Army Corps of Engineers geographer says, "The enterprise could be the Corps of Engineers, it could be the Huntsville center, it could be the Army. To be able to consume the data we collect here and then to be able to help them make good decisions based off our data combined with there data."

The type of support that GIS provides creates a cost savings, which is ultimately passed along to the taxpayer. Dustin Ray remarks, "You can get hundred of millions of dollars worth of savings."

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