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CJ2 provides map products theatre-wide

By Sgt. Kerensa Hardy
First published in
SFOR Informer#115, June 13, 2001

Camp Butmir Products such as the SFOR Route Map are invaluable to the personnel who frequent the roads in BiH. The map shows SFOR-approved routes throughout the theatre.
The section responsible for these types of products is CJ2 GEO. But their mission may not be exactly what you might think.
We dont actually make maps per se. We dont have the capabilities to make maps, we do not have the (equipment), said Canadian Maj. Ed Batchelor, chief geographic officer. What we are making are map products. Maps that we have access to are ones that we receive through the NATO distribution chain.
The mission of CJ2 GEO is to provide mapping, charting and geodetic products and services to all units of SFOR, according to Batchelor. There are five different geographic functions; each of those provides a particular capability. The functions are map supply and distribution, terrain analysis and visualisation, reproduction (printing or plotting), surveying and geographic data management. An unofficial function is the ongoing requirement of providing advice to customers and maintaining communication to ensure co-ordination is carried out prior to updating or creating certain map products.
Obviously, some functions are used more often than others in this case, map supply and distribution are the areas in which CJ2 gets the most requests.
The Theatre Map Depot is located on Camp Butmir and has a stock of about 1 million maps of various scales and series. When customers come to CJ2 requesting what is referred to as a designated product, they are sent to the map depot to get the item.
Designated products are those that were identified when the theatre operation was initially established. They include various series of maps that are considered as the standard in theatre to ensure that everyone is using the same map. Customers can use these maps to navigate, locate various features and identify high and low points on the terrain, Batchelor explained.
I think one of the important things to note is although every product we put out contains an identifying task number that indicates that its been produced on behalf (of CJ2 GEO), were only providing a graphical presentation of what the customer wants, he said. So its really their information that were putting on paper. Customers provide the specific information they want depicted on the map.
Being as were in the business, we obviously have the expertise and knowledge on how to best portray that information, Batchelor said.
They come with an idea or requirement, the staff asks questions about what the customer wants and the process goes on from there.
The next level is when additional data is added to an existing map.
For the most part most of the designated products that we have in hard copy, we have digital files of those on CD, and that allows us to manipulate the information as opposed to just (making an overlay), the CJ2 GEO chief said. Then there are products we can actually create from scratch based on a base map layer and layers of information, which is where our specialised software comes into play. It allows you to build a product by layer. In these instances, the base map is the background and each layer shows specific information, roads, water, vegetation, etc.
An example of a map that has had information added is the recent Glamoc Range map. The border-crossing maps are examples of those products made essentially from scratch.
SFOR miscellaneous products are reproduced on a cyclic basis six months to one year. Theyre produced in-house and are printed by contract, such as the SFOR Route Map, helicopter landing sites, medical facilities or unit disposition maps.
Just as with any job, there are challenges involved with this mission. Batchelor said that every day is a challenge, but nothing his team cant handle.
Theres no challenge that we cannot overcome. Ive come to learn that the technicians who work on my staff are intelligent, educated people who have a tremendous desire to meet the mission, he said. They will come up with a workable solution to any problem we encounter or any requirement that a customer asks of us.
He said the job the section does is rewarding because customers come to them with an idea or request and CJ2 GEO makes it a reality. Customers receive the result in a short time frame and for them it is gratifying.
I think that what people like most about what we do is that it meets the proverb, A picture is worth a thousand words, he said.

Related link: SFOR at Work