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Using OGC Registries to deploy Aviation Web Services

Originally published on LinkedIn:

Several planes flying across a blue background

One of the principles of System Wide Information Management, or SWIM, is to use web services to provide centralized dynamic access to all kinds of aviation-related information. Information such as the location and status of aircraft, whether on the ground or in the air, is of vital interest to airlines, airports, and flight support systems. One of the intentions behind SWIM is to bring together services that provide information about things like weather events such as storms or ash clouds, computed and actual flight routes, the location and status of flight and ground crews, and airport information, including nearby obstacles, the status of runways and navigation aids, and landing or takeoff procedures. This is all critical information of interest to the aviation community.

A number of specialized languages have been developed for the encoding of some of this information, such as WXXM for weather events, and FXXM for flights. From the perspective of registries, these standards are made up of many different types of events and information elements that can be discovered and accessed through registries. There might be registries of information about airports, navigation aids, weather events, landing procedures, aircraft, etc., all of which can be searched, and from which specific information can be retrieved using a common web service protocol.

For new types of information, which don’t yet have specialized languages, the more generalized OGC data model of the underlying registry can be used. This data model makes it easy to describe any new type of information using data semantics, taxonomies, relationships, and various other properties, as well as including one or more geographic properties such as location or extent, and attachments such as images or documents. Registries offer a simple, common means to discover and access the information content, and the protocol is the same regardless of whether it’s airports or aircraft.

Of course, with so many web services deployed, it is essential to be able to find these services and all of their associated information. Here again, registries can play a lead role. Services being offered by providers are registered with a Registry of Services, which is what a SWIM Registry is, and consumers of these services can discover them by searching using geography, taxonomy, relationships, and/or properties as criteria.

In any part of the aviation ecosystem, using registries based on the OGC data model provides a rapid and cost-effective means of deploying both service registries and registries of services.