Our Experience

USS Yorktown GIS Database & Liquid Level Assessment

Patriots Point commissioned GEL to develop a tool that would allow them to more effectively and efficiently manage maintenance on the USS Yorktown. 

The Client

Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum

The Challenge

The State of South Carolina is home to one of the largest museums of its kind in the world.  Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum provides each visitor with an experience that celebrates and tells the story of the patriotism, honor and character of the men and women who bravely served and currently serve our country.

The staff of Patriots Point work diligently to maintain these national historic landmarks.  However, with no state appropriated funding and with the enormous size of these vessels, managing needed repairs provides a unique challenge when organizing and planning maintenance projects.

This is especially true for the USS Yorktown, the largest of the museum’s exhibits which spans the length of 888 feet.  Patriots Point needed a way to catalog the characteristics of the more than 2000 compartments of the Yorktown in order to plan for and manage maintenance projects.  They were especially concerned with the compartments deep within the ship that contained liquids and potential hazardous materials.

GEL Engineering Services Provided

Patriots Point retained GEL to develop a GIS database to help them effectively and efficiently manage the ongoing operations and maintenance of the Yorktown.  GEL met with Patriots Point personnel to determine exactly what type of data needed to be captured, cataloged, and managed and to obtain first hand knowledge of the ship to identify potential issues regarding conversion of paper drawings dating back to the 1940’s to GIS layers.  Coordination with Patriots Point personnel was critical to ensure that the GIS database met the needs of Patriots Point. 

Using the ship’s original construction drawings and more recent CAD files, GEL then converted the drawings to GIS layers for use by ArcGIS v.9.3 software.  Separate layers were created for each deck of the ship.  Individual compartments were also included with attributes assigned to each compartment based on the data needs and requirements of Patriots Point.  Each layer was georeferenced so that they overlay one another.

A database of attributes was created in Microsoft Access, and linked with the GIS layers.  The attribute fields included in the database were chosen based on discussions with Patriots Point personnel, and include fields for each of the following for each compartment: 

  • Compartment number
  • Compartment name
  • Deck or level designation
  • Presence of confined space
  • Description of contents
  • Hazardous materials identified (lead-based paint, asbestos, oil, fuel, PCBs, etc.)
  • Presence, depth, and salinity of water
  • Digital photos of compartment

The database can be easily modified if additional parameters are necessary to fulfill the future needs of Patriots Point.  A digital form was created in Access to allow rapid entry and updating of compartment attributes by Patriots Point personnel.  The digital form contains drop-down menus for multiple fields to increase efficiency of data entry and conformity of attributes.

GEL trained the designated Patriots Point personnel in the use and maintenance of the GIS database and the associated Access database and created a user’s manual.  The GIS database is built on an Access framework.  They are the same database, but can be used and updated in either ArcGIS or Access.

The Result

By effectively managing the Yorktown’s maintenance, Patriots Point can preserve this national historic landmark for visitors for years to come.

GEL is currently providing training to Patriots Point staff on the GIS system.