Review of ESRI Installations & Environment User Group Meeting

This week I was invited to be part of a panel discussion on in-building GIS at the ESRI Installations and Environment User Group meeting in Washington DC.  it was a very interesting event to be part of as many of the best minds in the Dept. of Defense were there.  These are the folks who run our nation's facilities GIS implementations.  When you stop to consider the number and value of the installations owned and managed by DoD, the numbers are truly impressive.  GIS for facilities is very mature at DoD and most of the services are actively using GIS for activities as diverse as pavement management, housing allocation, energy management and noise abatement.

Navy, Marine Corps., Coast Guard, and Army all gave updates on their current efforts at centralizing their GIS implementations.  (Air Force was strangely under-represented which I found discouraging given the GIS leadership that Air Force has represented in the past.)

The #1 topic on everyone's agenda at this event?  Space Management.  Turns out the "footprint reduction" is an important directive for all the services and they are struggling to come up with plans that will reduce the space that they occupy by 15% by 2011.  This would be an extraordinary challenge under any conditions, but one of the big problems that all services are struggling with is that the data to make consolidation decisions is either missing entirely, out of date, or developed to inconsistent standards making analysis impossible.  Hence there is a BIG focus now on developing standards for floor space data collection and maintenance standards.  Each of the services seems to be pursuing their own path currently as SDS FIE does not speak very clearly on the subject of floor space.  There is supposedly an overhaul of SDS FIE due out soon, but there was no information available at the conference about whether there would be a more thorough treatment of floor space in the new standard.  BISDM anyone?