Saturday, November 10, 2012

What is Aeronautical Information Management ?

Very few of us who fly from one destination to another have any idea about the information systems that support civil aviation. As one might imagine, the role of technology in helping to manage and regulate the exploitation of our airspace has been growing steadily for decades. Yet, at the heart of every nation’s civil aviation system is something called AIM, Aeronautical Information Management. AIM is the data layer foundation for all other aviation activities and as of today much of it is still manual and un-integrated. The data layer is the foundation for all other modernization initiatives and making sure that it is done right will have a direct impact on the airline industry as well as on passenger safety.

Core AIM Concept

Data as a Product versus Data as a Service – that’s the way that the Global AIM community often portrays the Aeronautical Information Management transformation challenge. Oddly enough though, AIM is the successor to something called AIS – Aeronautical Information Services. The reason for the apparent discrepancy in evolutionary descriptions has to do with a change in how these systems are viewed. The term AIS was derived from ICAO requirements dating back several decades. At that time the provision of manuals extracted from stove-piped data systems was considered a service.

Now of course, we see the term ‘Service’ more closely aligned to specific architectural constructs, i.e. Services Oriented Architecture (SOA). The AIS systems and framework were in fact designed only to support the regular release and distribution of civil aviation knowledge products, which at first were only manifested by printed manuals and later by electronic document distribution. The primary publication is referred to as the Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) and is released every 57 days.

Aeronautical Information Management is a global initiative and at its core recognizes that in order to move forward to a true ‘Services’ paradigm, civil aviation must consolidate a fractured, stove-piped data layer that had been developed to support paper products and transform it into a single, logical architecture framework.

AIM is part of a much larger global modernization effort for Civil Aviation

AIM Definitions

•    The NAS – A conglomeration of FAA systems which manage the National Air Space.
•    ATM – “Air Traffic Management” is roughly equivalent to the FAA’s NAS.
•    NextGen – The collective name for the set of modernization initiatives which will be rolled out by the FAA over the next decade. 
•    AIXM – The Aeronautical Information Exchange Model. A canonical XML-based data model meant to characterize the entire problem space of civil aviation and provide data exchange support between civil aviation systems through and across AIM infrastructures.
•    SESAR – The ‘Single European Sky ATM Research’ is the equivalent of the FAA’s NextGen efforts.
•    CDM – Collaborative Decision Making (currently mostly manual).
•    SWIM – System Wide Information Management (basically, the support infrastructure for NextGen / SESAR services).
•    NOTAMs – ‘Notice to Airmen’ represents near-real time environmental or situational updates regarding certain portions of airspace.
•    ADS-B - Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast
•    OATA – The Eurocontrol Overall Target Architecture Activity

Copyright 2012  - Technovation Talks, Semantech Inc.


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