Homeland security seminar adopts GPS-Photo Link to teach critical infrastructure protection

Homeland Security Seminar Adopts GPS-Photo Link Software to Teach
Critical Infrastructure Protection

THORNTON, Colorado, USA, 30 April 2007 – The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is using GPS-Photo Link software from GeoSpatial Experts to teach state and federal officials how to perform surveys of critical infrastructure and sensitive areas. The photo-mapping software has been incorporated into the OPM’s Homeland Security: Critical Infrastructure Protection Seminar.

“We use GPS-Photo Link software to show the participants that inspecting and mapping infrastructure is as easy as taking a digital photograph of their kids,” said Tom Patterson of ESRI Inc., which provides instruction on GIS technology in the seminar.

The GPS-Photo Link software automatically links digital photographic images with GPS location data and then accurately maps the photographs in their correct georeferenced locations on a GIS layer. In addition, GPS-Photo Link creates web pages in which the watermarked photographs are integrated with satellite imagery, street maps, or other GIS-based mapping layer. The software enables users to display their photo locations as icons in a Google Earth map layer and add arrows indicating the directions in which the photos were taken.

OPM developed the seminar to assist government officials in complying with federal regulations that mandate protection of critical infrastructure such as military installations, power plants, bridges and utility facilities. A major requirement of these regulations is the mapping and inspection of these sites. Seminar participants are taught to look for vulnerabilities in and around the facilities, including damaged fencing, improperly stored hazardous materials, dense vegetation and other deficiencies in security.

“We give these non-GIS people a digital camera equipped with a Compact Flash GPS card and a secure digital card,” said Patterson. “They go out in the field and take pictures of the potential deficiencies they find at a training facility. The GPS card automatically acquires locations coordinates for every photo.”

Back at the classroom, the participants take the secure digital cards, which contain the digital photos and the GPS coordinates where each was taken, and input the cards into a laptop computer running GPS-Photo Link. The software correlates the photos with their locations and maps them on a digital GIS map or image. Simply by clicking on a photo icon on the screen, the participants can view the photo and any notes that were taken on site.

The digital photo provides documentation of potential vulnerabilities that can be reviewed later by experts, who can decide what measures, if any, should be taken. With the feature location mapped accurately on the GIS map via the GPS-Photo Link software, the inspectors know they will quickly and easily find the site again to make the necessary repairs. Seminar participants are taught to take additional GPS-stamped photos after repairs have been made to verify the site meets regulations.

“The seminar participants love using the camera for mapping…because everybody knows how to take a picture,” said Patterson.

“Among state and federal clients, we are increasingly seeing GPS-Photo Link software used in disaster preparedness plans to create location- and time-stamped visual records of asset condition,” said Rick Bobbitt, President of GeoSpatial Experts.

For more information on GPS-Photo Link, visit www.geospatialexperts.com. For more information on the OPM’s Homeland Security: Critical Infrastructure Protection seminar, visithttp://www.leadership.opm.gov/Programs/Policy-and-Initiatives/HDC/Index.aspx. The next seminar will be offered Sept. 24-28, 2007 at the OPM Eastern Management Development Center in Shepherdstown, WV.

Linda Bobbitt
GeoSpatial Experts
Phone: 303.255.2908
Email: Linda@geospatialexperts.com