Distributing Aviation Information

Air navigation service providers (ANSP) manage flight traffic and the movement of aircraft within the airspace that they are responsible for. ANSP’s focus on providing cost-efficient services, but their ability to do this is being impeded by the rate of technological change in the modern world.

The ability to provide accurate, up-to-date, integrated data across all services and to quickly integrate new data sources and accommodate new vendor requirements is a significant challenge. Business users and aviation systems need to get the same information in as near real-time as possible.

Challenges with Modern Technologies

Air traffic management (ATM) systems are becoming increasingly digital and automated, feeding flight and weather data and other information from the providers to the users and systems that need it.

SWIM Data

Digital NOTAMS (Notices to Airmen) are another application of system wide information management (SWIM), improving the synchronization of data between pilots and onboard and ground-based navigation data sources.

Modern aviation is increasingly dependent on these interconnected systems of data providers and distributors. But there are some significant challenges that come with these types of systems, including:

  • maintaining data integrity across applications, databases, and data feeds when multiple systems and processes are involved
  • needing manual processes and interventions to manage the data pipeline when these can cause delays in business operations
  • requiring changes to existing parts of the process when new formats and protocols are introduced
  • integrating new sources and applications acquired through purchases, partnerships, and mergers

A service-oriented architecture or SOA (http://searchsoa.techtarget.com/definition/service-oriented-architecture) is one way to deal with these problems, and a service registry plays a number of key roles in making things work.

Service-oriented architectures are an obvious choice when there are many applications, databases, data feeds, and processes involved in a networked system. An enterprise service bus connects all the components, and a service registry makes them findable and orchestrates services and subscriptions.

Leveraging Registry Capabilities

Registries and registry platforms are a new approach to information system development. They are open standards-based, and use a plug-in architecture that allows customers to develop and deploy their own application-specific extensions. Registries can provide a lot of additional functionality to a distributed data-sharing system. In addition to managing the registration and discovery of data services, a registry can manage subscription services and provide authentication and access control capabilities. Registries can also provide capabilities for transforming data between different formats and bridging between different protocols.

Maintaining Data Integrity

Within a multiple-component data sharing network, there are many points where data integrity is at risk. These risks can be mitigated or eliminated by taking advantage of several registry capabilities. Registries provide an audit trail that logs a history of changes and supports the life cycle management of data, helping to ensure accuracy and consistency across the system. Registries can be used to add and manage additional metadata and geospatial properties. Registries have the ability to create an almost unlimited number of associations between objects. This allows relationships to be created for traceability, provenance, governance, and exponentially improves the findability of information held in the system.

Automating Processes

As part of a managed subscription, registries can transform data from one format to another without requiring any changes to be made in the systems participating in the exchange, or for manual intervention and processing. Homogeneous and heterogeneous data in many different formats can be harvested from various sources to be distributed and shared according to individual subscriptions. In addition to the default harvest plugins, new plugins can be created as needed to accommodate new data sources and formats. Automated notifications are based on a publication/subscription mechanism and can be triggered by changes on any object. Changes can be automatically published to the registry without the need to worry about managing the underlying database structure.

Support Ongoing Changes and Newer Technologies

One of the biggest benefits of registries is the ability to quickly develop new re-usable components, and to easily extend applications when new formats and protocols are introduced. When new data sources come online, or new data formats are introduced, additional transformations can be easily added and incorporated into subscriptions. This increases system robustness and flexibility, and increases system utility. The extensibility and flexibility of registries and a service-oriented architecture can save time and money by getting to market faster or by meeting customer demands more quickly and at lower cost.

Components and libraries are available for quickly building custom clients that interact with registry services. Client components include map displays, cache management and synchronization, graphic display and navigation, and tabular displays.

Sharing and Updating Aviation Information

Open standards are already in use for aeronautical information, weather data, flight plans, and more. Airlines, regulators, pilots, and airports already provide and consume service content, and SWIM registries are an integral part of the next generation of air traffic management systems. SWIM registries manage many different web services and associated artefacts, including flight plans and weather data.

Weather Data

Some of the data in a flight plan needs to be centrally stored and distributed in advance so that airlines and airports can plan for the most efficient comings and goings of airplanes. Other data, such as pilot contact information, can only be shared to a controlled number of users.

Flight plans also need to be updated in near real time when things like bad weather, runway damage, or airport closures cause changes in departure, arrival, or route information. Such changes to flight plans must be distributed to all relevant parties as quickly and efficiently as possible. Delaying updates has the potential to cause all manner of accidents ranging from minor to catastrophic, and everyone involved needs to have the same up-to-date information on which to base their decisions.

The publication/subscription capability of registries can provide a great deal of fine-grained control over what and how data is shared. Flight plans are just one example of a combination of data elements that need different rules for who can share them and how they are distributed.

How Galdos Can Help

Galdos Systems has played a significant role in the development of aviation standards, being the original author of Geography Markup Language (GML), and being a contributor to AIXM and WXXM, which are based on it.

The Galdos INdicio™ Registry enables fast application development and deployment and provides full support for geospatial data and multi-party/multi-data type applications. INdicio is cloud deployable, and supports desktop, web, and mobile clients. INdicio offers superior performance and flexibility as a service registry, and integrates easily with service-oriented architectures and service buses. Galdos can also offer controlled source-code solutions on request.

Contact Galdos Systems to learn more.