How SVG can learn to take-off:
SVG used for Aeronautical Charts


Yvonne Isakowski, Sandra Demarmels
Institute of Cartography, ETH Zurich

When flying, aeronautical information is an essential component to guarantee the safety of air traffic. The Aeronautical Information Services of Skyguide, the company in charge for air navigation services in Switzerland, is responsible for the procurement, evaluation and processing of necessary aeronautical information and data for the flight. All these components are now part of the new department Aeronautical Information Management (AIM). The AIM advises the crew or the airline company for pre-flight purposes and supports air traffic control and the ground service location [skyguide]. In this context, the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) specifies a range of charts which have to be published on a regular basis by the AIM, such as the Aerodrome Obstacle Chart. This chart provides the operator with necessary information on obstacles in order to develop procedures that comply with the operating limitations, i.e., with particular reference to obstacle information that limit the maximum permissible take-off mass (ICAO 2001, Chapter 5.1).

The obstacle chart has to meet high quality regarding accuracy and availability (up-to-date) of data to ensure a safe flight even particularly of an emergency. Updating paper charts is a time and cost intensive process. Therefore, Skyguide in cooperation with the Institute of Cartography (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, ETH) initiates efforts to develop online applications visualising these obstacle information and other aeronautical data with interactive and automatised updating functions which serve the needs of operators and pilots. A first prototype shows the possibilities of SVG-based technologies for aeronautical charting. In a second stage, attention is focused on finding the best method for updating the data and converting the data on-the-fly into SVG, including the use of PERL and INTERLIS to assist with these tasks.