12 June 2001.



The Defense Mapping School
National Imagery and Mapping College
5855 21st Street
Suite 101
Ft Belvoir, VA 22060

Orientation to the Defense Mapping School

Defense Mapping School Mission

Defense Mapping School Organization/Structure

Click for Directions to Defense Mapping School

DMS SOPs and Policies (Intranet Only)

Ft. Belvoir Relocation Resources

Glossary of Terms and Definitions-- New to DMS and confused between Army, Navy, Air Force, USMC and NIMA terms? Visit here!

History of Military Topography

History of Defense Mapping School

Defense Mapping School Charters

Our Mission

The Defense Mapping School is a Joint Service School providing military training for terrain analysis, geodetic survey, photolithography, and imagery and geospatial information for NIMA, DoD, and International Co-Producers.


The Defense Mapping School is comprised of two academic branches and one support branch. All DMS employees are stationed at Ft. Belvoir with the exception of a small portion of the Imagery and Geospatial Information Branch located at NIMA St. Louis.

see organizational chart:


History of Military Topography.

History of the Defense Mapping School.

The Defense Mapping School's military lineage can be traced back to 1918, when the Army's School of Surveying, Map Reproduction, and Ranging was opened at Camp A.A. Humphreys (now Fort Belvoir). The old mapping school eventually evolved into the Department of Topography of the US Army Engineer School. Established in 1972, the Defense Mapping School (DMS), now part of the National Imagery and Mapping College, the training arm of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA), develops and conducts training in Geospatial Information and Services (GI&S). Also in 1972, the school was expanded with the addition of staff and faculty members representing all the Armed Services. DMS instructors experienced in mapping, charting, geodesy (MC&G), geodetic surveying, and printing technology are skilled in applying GI&S as a force multiplier. A broad spectrum of technical expertise exists within DMS, including people skilled in geodesy, geography, geology, surveying, cartography, photolithography, offset printing, education, and engineering.

DMS instructors teach in one of three academic departments; instructors are both military (all services) and DoD civilians. DMS is organized into three branches. The Military Geography Branch conducts courses in topographic analysis and geodetic survey. Courses are also offered in positioning system operations, foundation data concepts, remotely sensed imagery, and geographic information systems. The Imagery and Geospatial Information Branch presents resident and nonresident instruction in GI&S to the Services, NIMA employees, other state, local and Federal agencies, and international co-producers. Courses range from geographic information systems/remotely sensed imagery to topographic operations and staff officer courses to the Services. In addition, the Imagery and Geospatial Information Branch conducts extensive mobile training team support to the Services during routine training, exercise, and crisis action. The Printing Technology Branch provides Service instruction in photolithography, printing and reproduction equipment repair. Defense Mapping School Organization The Defense Mapping School is comprised of three academic branches and one support branch. All DMS employees are stationed at Ft. Belvoir with the exception of a small team located at NIMA St. Louis.

Defense Mapping School Charter

DMS is a Joint Service School chartered by JCS in 1972.

DMS does not conduct Basic Training; DMS does conduct Advanced Individual Training (AIT), at the direction of JCS and the military services. Students are granted Military Occupational Specialty ratings by their respective services upon completion of courses at DMS. All such DMS courses use Service-approved task lists.

DMS conducts Geospatial Information and Services (GI&S) related training for military and civilian members of DoD and other federal agencies at the direction of DMS and the request of those agencies.

The coordination of courses, individual tasks, and the associated standards amoung the four services is a highly structured, closely controlled process. DMS works directly with service training commands, personnel commands, and interservice training organizations, and JCS J-7 to insure compliance with all policies, directives, and regulations regarding training.

The following documents define the mission and responsibilities of DMS.

Chapter 167, Sections 2791-2795, Title 10 USC describes the establishment of DMA (now NIMA) and its functions. Section 2795 authorizes the exchange of mapping, charting and geodetic data, supplies and services to foreign countries. As training has long been considered a service, this has been recognized as the authority to conduct NIMAs intentional mission.

DoD Directive 2105.40 dated 1 Jan 1972 created DMA (now NIMA), and, with other supplementary documents, DMS. General Order #3, 16 Jan 1972 transferred personnel from the US Army Engineer School, Ft. Belvoir, to DMA (NIMA) and the Defense Mapping School.

DoD Directive 1322.18, Change 1, dated 28 Dec 1993, states in part:

Para 2 g. "Inter-Service Training Cooperation. The Military Service shall work together to determine effective and affordable solutions to training problems. Inter-service consolation of collocation of training shall be considered when applicable."

Para 2 f. "DoD Schools. When skills with a high degree of commonality are required in more than on [sic] Military Service, consideration shall be given to establishing a single DoD school, if cost effective, to provide the required training."

This is the rationale that has resulted in DMS being designated the school for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines for basic cartography, surveying, terrain analysis, photolithography, printing management, reproduction equipment repair, and training of certain targeting equipment systems.

CJCS Instruction 3120.05, dated 31 Aug 1995, "Mapping, Charting and Geodesy Supplemental Instruction to Joint Planning Document FY 1998 through FY 2003," Annex 1, para 5 b. (7) requires NIMA to "provide MC&G (GI&S) training through the Defense Mapping School." Similarly, DMA PD 309-1, 15 Feb 1998, Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) tasks to DMS to "establish and maintain technical training programs for the CINCs, Services, and other DoD agencies...." These documents establish the GGIS training responsibilities within NIMA (DMA) at DMS.

DMA Instruction 8900.1, 19 Oct 1989, defines policies, responsibilities, and procedures for providing GI&S training at DMS. This document tasks DMS to conduct training of the DoD military students in GI&S and occupational specialty requirements, foreign military students in military courses, and international students training in GI&S topics under cooperative mapping agreements.

DMS operates in accordance with JCS Memorandum of Policy 148, 8 July 1986, Inter-Service Coordination of Formal School Requirements and Capabilities.