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Army Corps Senior Geographer receives Commander’s Award for Civilian Service

Public Affairs, New York District
Published Jan. 20, 2016
Jeff Cusano is the District lead for the Enterprise Geographic Information System (EGIS) — an expanding technical initiative incorporating geographical features and tabular data to map, analyze and assess real-world problems that supports multiple District missions.

Jeff Cusano is the District lead for the Enterprise Geographic Information System (EGIS) — an expanding technical initiative incorporating geographical features and tabular data to map, analyze and assess real-world problems that supports multiple District missions.

Jeff Cusano (PL-E), a senior geographer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ New York District with over 20 years’ experience creating maps, has received the Commander’s Award for Civilian Service for superior service and exceptional devotion to the District’s Planning Division.

Major Responsibilities

Central to his work is providing staff with mapping and data for projects, drawing on technology such as Google Earth Maps and LIDAR — remote sensing technology measuring distance by illuminating a target with a laser and analyzing the reflected light — for presentations and studies. His responsibilities also include field work in New Jersey wetlands’ monitoring plants, birds and endangered species. He is the first geographic information system (GIS) professional in the District. (GIS stores information in layers and is integrated with software to create, store and analyze spatial information.)

Enterprise Geographic Information System

Mr. Cusano is the District lead for the Enterprise Geographic Information System (EGIS) — an expanding technical initiative incorporating geographical features and tabular data to map, analyze and assess real-world problems that supports multiple District missions. He plays a significant role disseminating information to users — making presentations and answering requests for information — most broadcast from Corps’ Headquarters in D.C. EGIS also uses computer-aided design (CAD), software that helps create, modify and optimize designs, and building information modeling (BIM), a program providing more detailed information to plan, design, construct and manage infrastructure. He’s now building on the system (that also includes land and water surveys) by helping staff access training.

Emergency Operations Team

Jeff also supports the Geospatial Emergency Operations Team, a national Corps initiative managing emergencies that is gaining prominence. Field staff are equipped with tablets to take photographs and write notes assessing disaster areas and sharing that information with office staff in real-time, increasing productivity. This was especially important after Hurricane Sandy severely impacted the region in 2012. Recently, Mr. Cusano teamed with Mike Krehely (EM), an emergency manager with New Orleans District, delivering a presentation at North Atlantic Division (NAD) Headquarters in Brooklyn, NY, a borough of New York City. The topics was MICA — Mobile Information Collection Application — that provides a faster, more efficient way for collecting and managing field data.

Mapping Technology

The District has recently received funding for the Geospatial Portal Corps’ Map, a national online mapping site from Corps Headquarters in D.C. that pulls information from federal agencies — Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Transportation (DOT), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) — incorporating data into project work. Mr. Cusano noted specialized training and experience is required to use it effectively. A related project is the Corps Project Notebook, a local online mapping system plotting project areas with points on a map. Jeff is currently working on upgrades that will facilitate digitizing project boundaries.

Land Management

Jeff also supports the Army Military Land Tracts Program, a real estate initiative that compiles information about District-owned land (military installations, civil works projects, open spaces and land in development), that’s entered into a database linked to a mapping system. In a developmental stage, Mr. Cusano is drafting program guidelines and Dag Madara (PL-EW) is developing a SharePoint site for geospatial users in the District. In addition, he also supports the District’s Knowledge Management Team focusing on providing the best information for staff, and the Information Technology Steering Committee to improve the availability of information.

Holding a B.A. in natural resources management from the University of Maryland and an M.A. in geography from Rutgers in New Jersey, outside work Jeff enjoys traveling, the outdoors, and is a fan of the New Jersey Devils and the Yankees. Congratulations to a deserving employee committed to moving the District forward.


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