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8th IS initiative preps Airmen for life and mission in Hawaii

(U.S. Air Force graphic by Alexx Pons)

(U.S. Air Force graphic by Alexx Pons)


The 692nd Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Group’s 8th Intelligence Squadron at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, incorporated Aeronautical Reconnaissance Coverage Geographical Information System Online into their sponsorship program in December 2018.

ArcGIS Online is an accessible and flexible tool used to help 8th IS Airmen pivot to where the mission takes them. Airmen can access it from any computer or mobile device with just a username and password, with no Common Access Card (CAC) login required.

“Airmen inbound to the 8th IS arrive primarily from technical training locations or Central Command-focused Distributed Ground Sites, without extensive experience or knowledge of the Indo-Pacific region,” said Capt. Gregory Myers, 8th IS. “When Airmen coming to the 8th IS receive their sponsorship packages they now receive a link, username, and password to the ArcGIS online site that will help them and their families get ready for their move to Hawaii, as well as provide them a leg-up on their future mission.”

As events happen around the world, the 8th IS web development team can update the website in real-time, positioning them to quickly support any mission around the world.

The 8th IS was already using ArcGIS for mission-related mapping and analysis when Myers and Staff Sgt. David Allshouse, 8th IS, saw an opportunity to use the same tool to help Airmen inbound to Hawaii and their squadron for the first time.

“Airmen can also start familiarizing themselves with the Indo-Pacific Theater through interactive maps on the website,” said Myers. “As you dive into the Pacific Map, you can click on different areas and icons to introduce regional areas of interest, relevant history, current events, and how they tie into global security objectives and economic partnerships.”

Airmen can also get information about things such as the cost of living in Hawaii, the steps necessary to register vehicles, and the procedures for bringing pets with them by using ArcGIS. Having all of this information accessible in one location helps Airmen adjust to the unexpected challenges of island life.

“The first Airmen who received the ArcGIS Online link as part of their sponsorship packages arrived in Hawaii in February 2019,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jared Roman, 8th IS. “Their initial feedback was positive, and any inputs they provide will be used to update the website, making it even better for future inbound Airmen. Going forward, the 8th IS web development team plans to expand the website to include more sponsorship information and cover more regions the 8th IS is tasked to support.”

By utilizing new technology, the 8th IS better preparing their newest arrivals with information before they reach the island.

“The information learned weeks and months before an Airman arrives at the 8th IS creates a baseline of understanding for the hands-on operations training they will complete months into their tour,” added Myers. “Starting with an emphasis on the ‘why’ behind the current regional tensions, the 8th IS is building better analysts, who are ready for our mission before they arrive.”