VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The Virginia National Guard hosted geographic information system training for more than two dozen National Guard Airmen, Soldiers, civilians and contractors from 10 states and territories Aug. 26- 30, 2019, at State Military Reservation in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
GIS is a mapping-based, decision tool system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of spatial or geographical data.
“Each state has at least one person that does GIS,” explained Bob Reeder, Army National Guard GIS program manager. “Most have two or more. We use GIS for installations, environmental, training, aviation, Counter Drug, CSTs [Civil Support Teams] and we’re always trying to keep current.”
This training, which was conducted in conjunction with National Guard Bureau, consisted of two classes- a GIS analysis class and one focused on web-based GIS applications.
“It’s the new software for GIS,” Reeder said. “There is no official GIS training so we put this together and do it regionally so everyone can stay updated on the newest software. SMR is a good spot for most of the East Coast folks.”
It wasn’t the first time Virginia has hosted the training. It’s hosted similar courses in previous years but the hard work of hosting comes with benefits. As host, Virginia gets extra seats in the training for personnel who do mapping as part of their job but GIS is not their primary duty.
“We’re able to have more participation by having the training in state,” said Linwood Hoffman, the Virginia National Guard GIS program manager. “It doesn’t take quite as much time and money so we can have more of our people attend.”
In addition, personnel from around the region are exposed to the training facilities and opportunities available at SMR.
“We were are fortunate to be provided the facilities here,” Hoffman said. “And the SMR staff has been super helpful to facilitate this training.”