AAtS Harmonization Project

Contact jlieberman [at] opengeospatial.org (Josh Lieberman) for information on how to get involved.


The FAA’s Aircraft Access to System Wide Information Management (AAtS) initiative is in its evolutionary stages of requirements and standards development. Its goal is to provide aircraft connectivity to the FAA’s SWIM infrastructure to communicate/share aviation data and services. This connectivity will establish a common operating picture between the flight deck and air traffic control for collaborative strategic decision-making.  Distribution of the vast amount of operational information (such as AI, MET and ATM) needed to support the safe movement of aircraft during all phases of flight in the National Airspace System (NAS) will increase capacity, efficiency, and result in more timely departures and arrivals. 


Similarly, there are a number of aviation standards in development by a variety of industry groups and committees (i.e., the RTCA Special Committee 206 (SC-206), Aircraft/Ground Information Exchange/Manager Air-Ground Interface Communications (AGIE/MAGIC), and Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards) that are also pursuing the development of requirements and standards to leverage ground based aviation related information and data networking technology to support the operation of aircraft.


Thus, the FAA and industry are moving towards consensus that electronic distribution of operational data and technical information will increase the NAS/airline productivity and efficiency and deliver a more positive passenger experience both domestically and internationally. However, there is a need to encourage harmonization of all of these efforts since the aforementioned aviation committees also represent global interests. 


This projects puts forward a plan whereby the differences in requirements/standards undertaken by SC-206, AGIE/MAGIC and OGC can be identified and harmonized for both domestic and international interests. The goal is to set a framework for recommending and testing a harmonized architecture between all 3 concepts, requirements and standards.


Phase 1 Harmonization Planning and Community Input (June 2013 - January 2014)

  • Setting up a framework for the assessment by
    • Identifying the partnerships and “rules of engagement” needed between the AAtS initiative and the aforementioned aviation committees
    • Identifying each activity status of requirements and standards development of these aviation committees to include any test-beds, demonstrations, pilot projects, and interoperability experiments ongoing or planned
    • Evaluating and assessing these activities to determine how they can be leveraged to minimize duplication of effort and maximize return on investment
    • Reviewing standards from each activity looking for major coordination and harmonization focus areas with focus on technical architecture, use cases, interactions and gaps
  • Working with the community through a Request for Information (RFI) process by
    • Going out to the community for input on harmonization opportunities, gaps and ongoing/related work
    • Convening a workshop involving the community to develop a framework for a deep dive into standards concepts and approaches, followed by an exchange of the findings
  • Performing an initial deep-dive into the standards concepts and approaches across the identified activities

Phase  2 Harmonization Assessment and Validation (Jan 2014 - June 2014)

  • Performing a deep assessment of the standards (conflicts, harmonization opportunities, etc) by
    • Delineating the operational and technical changes needed to support the creation of harmonized requirements and standards for domestic and global interoperability
    • Assessing in detail, based upon the framework developed in Phase 1, each standard and inherent architecture and document compatibilities and areas of conflict and develop a harmonized approach that meets all of the intended functionality
    • Documenting the use cases, value propositions, user needs, expectations and implementation approaches and methods
  • Working with the sponsor to identify appropriate short term activities (e.g. prototype implementations, demonstrations and interoperability experiments) to close a subset of the discovered harmonization gaps. The subset will be determined based on the outcomes of the Phase 1 report. If needed, OGC will issue a Request for Quotations (RFQ)/Call for Participation (CFP) to solicit community contributions. The validation will result in
    • Documenting specification updates and/or considerations
    • Documenting validation findings and recommendations