AFIMSC provides geospatial tools to commanders amid Covid-19 risk

17 April 2020 (Last Updated April 17th, 2020 15:26)

The Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center’s (AFIMSC) Detachment 4 (Det 4) at Ramstein Air Force Base (AFB), Germany is set to provide geospatial tools to commanders to protect lives during coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

AFIMSC provides geospatial tools to commanders amid Covid-19 risk
US Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center’s Detachment 4 at Ramstein AFB in Germany has provided commanders with geospatial tools to protect lives during Covid-19 pandemic. Credit: US Air Force.

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The Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center’s (AFIMSC) Detachment 4 (Det 4) at Ramstein Air Force Base (AFB), Germany is set to provide geospatial tools to commanders to protect lives during coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The tools to be provided to the commanders from US Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) and US Air Forces Africa (USAFRICA) will allow them to assess operational risk accurately.

Developed by GeoBase team of the detachment, the geospatial tools permit real-time detailed data regarding the spread of the virus in the respective areas of responsibility.

The data will help commanders make informed decisions to sustain mission readiness and help control the threat of exposure.

The USAFE-AFAFRICA worked with AFIMSC Det 4 to create geospatial applications, collectively synchronising and sharing data.

An interactive data visualisation tool was developed by a collaborative venture between the Air Force Surgeon General’s Office and the Air Force Civil Engineer Center (AFCEC) at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

Later the two other tools, GeoPDF and a Covid-19 map viewer, were augmented with the dashboard. This standardised reporting and eliminated redundancies between the organisations.

GeoPDF helped transform a common PDF map into a robust tool, allowing viewing of multiple data layers by turning them on or off.

The map viewer tool displayed the present positive coronavirus cases within specific areas, providing a real-time environment for assessing the pandemic.

Together, the tools enhanced the capability to identify regions affected by the virus in Europe and Africa.

Det 4 Basing and Beddown Branch geographer Tony Adduci said: “We initially started capturing data on March 17, starting with identifying Covid-19 cases from countries with a DoD presence in Europe.

“Our intent was to find regional or district cases rather than whole country counts. This provides us with an exact geospatial picture of where the virus is spreading within these countries without having to comb through the ministry of health documents to identify these locations.

“To date, we are collecting data from over 40 countries, encompassing over 800 regional and district areas in Europe. The data is explicitly collected from the government ministry of health sources rather than from news sources whose data may not be accurate.”