Engineer troops survey Liberty for new maps

Multi-National Division Baghdad
Story by 1st Lt. Michael Lind

Date: 11.05.2009
Posted: 11.06.2009 03:07
News ID: 41176
Engineer troops survey Liberty for new maps

BAGHDAD, Iraq — A temporary increase in the number of Soldiers moving through Camp Liberty is expected as the U.S. military transitions to a responsible drawdown in Iraq.

This increase means plans to improve facilities and security; an impossible task without updated maps.

Troops of the 621st Survey and Design Team, 101st Engineer Battalion, 16th Eng. Brigade, surveyed Camp Liberty, Nov. 5, to provide leaders and Soldiers with updated maps.

From North Carolina, the National Guard team includes two survey teams and one drafting team who are responsible for architectural design, land survey, and cartography.

"[The 621st] provides topographical data in our areas of responsibilities and provides input for better utilization of existing structures," said Staff Sgt. Glenn Cornett, of Hazard, Ky.

After receiving the mission a few weeks ago, the 621st engineers grabbed their gear and set up tripods around various points across Camp Liberty to record up to date survey readings.

"The Trimble 5600 is one of the instruments used for collecting traverse, topographic, and as built data. The Trimble R-8 is the [Global Positioning Satellite] device used to collect real time data to tie into existing maps," said Spc. Derek Adams, of Gastonia, N.C.

According to Adams, the tripods provide a plumb and level base. With a perfect setup, the R-8 can grab GPS data and location by referencing other GPS points through traverse methods that utilize angles and distances.

In all, the mission is a three phase process.

"We survey the roads and ditches to get GPS coordinates and make sure that current points are in synch with previously documented readings," said Spc. Micah Mahadeo, from Stanley, N.C.

Once new data is synchronized, the surveyors then compile new statistics for the outlay changes to Camp Liberty.

"We then deal with surveying canals, boundaries, T-Walls, utilities, power poles, building structures, and sewers," said Sgt. Daveline Harris, the survey team leader from Charlotte, N.C.

According to Harris, line of sight from instrument to prism is crucial in determining accurate readings on elevation, distance, and other land feature information.

"Once [the surveyors] go out and record points and elevations...we turn the data over to the drafters so they can review the stats," said Harris.

In the third phase, surveyors download their data into computer systems for the designers to verify the information is accurate.

"Once accurate, we use our best engineering judgment to design structures such as buildings, roadways, lighting projects, or gates," said Staff Sgt. William Burriola, from Fairmont, N.C.

When the three phases are complete, the information is sent up to higher, where maps are produced.

"Maps [that we help make] are a combined effort of the surveyors and the designers. Higher levels than us create them; we give them the data to make it happen," said Cornett.

"We have a sense of accomplishment knowing we help define and produce topographical maps that will be used for years to come," said Burriola.