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Speeding Intel to mapmakers on the battlefield: the BAS in Iraq.

The Big Agile Server (BAS) is a system created by the Air Force that provides the latest and most accurate map data and imagery to Iraq. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is in the process of turning over the server to engineer Soldiers in the Victory Corps, 320th Engineer Company (Topographic), Terrain Platoon. The server will soon be run primarily by engineer Soldiers instead of NGA.

BAS Components

The BAS works by transmitting data, through satellites, from the NGA headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, to Multinational Corps-Iraq (MNC-I) headquarters in Baghdad. When NGA headquarters receives new map data and imagery, it directly updates the server in Iraq. The ultimate goal of this server is to become the fastest way possible to get map data and imagery to Iraq.

The capacity of the BAS allows users to not only store the most up-to-date imagery and products but also to keep a sizeable amount of data on hand, creating a large directory of map data and imagery to pull from. This is important because it gives geospatial analysts the ability to track progress and change in Iraq, and it builds a comprehensive historical database for future operations.

BAS History in Iraq

The BAS arrived in Iraq in 2005, and it has been an asset used primarily by the NGA. This year, for the first time since its introduction, engineer Soldiers will play a key role in running the server. Currently, NGA is transitioning the BAS to Soldiers in the 320th. This transition allows the terrain platoon to provide leaders at the highest levels the most accurate map products available to the military.

The BAS has been instrumental in the planning and mission execution of most corps sections that frequently request updated products. As a terrain platoon asset, the BAS provides ground commanders with the latest imagery and data on locations across Iraq. The data, transferred from the server to a customer's hard drive, is easily loaded by its users. This technology has been growing since 2003, and to date, the BAS has proved an invaluable asset in the planning and execution of many missions across Iraq.


BAS Operations--Present and Future

Currently, the 320th Terrain Platoon gets the majority of its data from NGA. And by putting the BAS under the control of the platoon, Soldiers who use the data to make corps-level products will now have complete access to the best data and imagery available. The BAS is quickly on its way to becoming the fastest, most accurate, and most effective way for NGA to get data and imagery to Soldiers in the field. And with Soldiers running the system, it will become an even sharper tool for covering all areas of the battlefield.

First Lieutenant Strom is the terrain platoon leader for the 320th Engineer Company. Her previous assignments include production platoon leader for the 320th Engineer Company and battalion S3 for the 565th Engineer Battalion, Hanau, Germany. Her platoon provides corps-level topographic products and analysis and provides smaller satellite teams across Iraq to the 2d Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division, Corps Support Command, and the 130th Engineer Brigade.

By First Lieutenant Bridget Strom
COPYRIGHT 2006 U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center
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Article Details
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Author:Strom, Bridget
Publication:Engineer: The Professional Bulletin for Army Engineers
Date:Apr 1, 2006
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