4/16/2012–Baltimore, MD–The Maryland National Guard and the Maryland Wing Civil Air Patrol are working together using the Geospatial Information Interoperability Exploitation-Portable platform, better known as the GIIEP system to give incident commanders in emergency situations real time images.
CAP Capt. Jonathan Neumann, Maryland GIIEP project officer, said it is used to collect video and still images and disseminate those images from an aircraft. The system transmits using a 3G cellular signal or via a satellite phone.
An incident commander with a user name and password can then access those images from a website in near real time. Part of the flexibility of the system allows the user to access the system anywhere there is an internet connection.
Master Sgt. Clyde J Wood, an IT system specialist with the 175th Communications Squadron, said the simplicity of the system allows one man to operate it. The GIIEP uses a commercial off the shelf camera and a laptop computer.
Real world examples for using the system include incident responses to natural disasters, terrorist events or civil disturbances.
On a recent training mission, a CAP plane flew above the C and D canal, a body of water connecting the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays. In a real world emergency, the system would transmit the images to an incident command system allowing that team to assess any damage and whether the waterway was usable.
If a hurricane inflicted damage to Maryland, a mission with the GIIEP equipment would show where and to what extent flooding and other damage occurred.
Last summer the system was used during Hurricane Irene. Missions were flown from Easton, Maryland to Ocean City, Maryland to access the damage along US Route 50.
“Civil Air Patrol is a true force multiplier as they provide the aircraft and crew to fly members of the Air and Army National Guard who work side by side with the CAP in operating the GIIEP system”, said CAP Capt. Jonathan Neumann. “It’s training missions like this one that prepares us to respond when called.”