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Crossroads of the Marine Corps

Geospatial data critical to base decision making

15 Sep 2014 | John Hollis Marine Corps Base Quantico

His own planning and engineering background made Jack Trophia a natural for Installation Geospatial Information and Services Program.


“This is exciting stuff for me,” said Trophia, the IGI&S program manager. “Maps are what attracted me to this job.  It fits right into my background. You’re putting together information. … It’s fun and people appreciate what we do for them.”


Trophia’s passion for what he does has been instrumental in the key role IGI&S has come to play at Marine Corps Base Quantico with its accumulation of accurate, complete and readily available geospatial information.


The intent of the data, which is usually presented in the form of detailed maps, is to give base officials the best possible information about the installation and its surroundings. That knowledge could figure prominently in any decisions made about installation management practices that could better serve Marine training while assuaging any environmental concerns. Data contained in this system was key to developing the base Master Plan, which will guide the future development of MCBQ through 2035.


Using the latest version of Spatial Data Standards for Infrastructure and Environment, Trophia and his two assistants, Megan Mahoney and Scott Haskell, readily answer when requests come in for data needed for various environmental assessments and analytical studies. Contractors doing work at MCB Quantico usually make up most of those seeking the information, Trophia said, but IGI&S also works with neighboring counties on land-use programs.


“Anybody who calls us, we support them and we’re here for them,” Trophia said.


Similar to Google Earth, the user-friendly SDSFIE 3.0 system comes with an array of options as MCB Quantico currently lists 44 different data sets and eight community data sets, Trophia said. There can be as many as 20 or more feature sets set for each data set, with each feature set having thousands of features.


 Its many features allow IGI&S to provide an accurate snapshot in time of buildings, roads and every other area within MCB Quantico with its aerial imagery. The many features allow GIS to incorporate all the various pieces that make up the base, such as where utility lines are located, or where historical artifacts have been found, in addition to showing where buildings, roads, and parking lots are located, while also providing a place to store the plethora of spatial data that exists on the base, Mahoney said. Detailed satellite images provided by contractors chosen by the Marine Corps can entail useful data on just about anything. The pictures are typically taken in February when fewer leaves on trees allow for more accurate assessments, Trophia said.

The system, which went into effect in 2009, is available to all MCB Quantico employees with CAC cards and offers access to information to all Marine Corps duty stations. It can be found at:

Marine Corps Base Quantico