Airports around the world are faced with several significant challenges. As their sizes grow, the need for improved strategies and tools to manage spaces directly impacts the ability to generate revenue. The infrastructure required to support many buildings, runways and accessibility is also under pressure to increase efficiency. Meanwhile, energy, emergency and critical response functions must operate throughout these facilities. Geographic information systems (GIS) can be used to increase efficiency, lower operating costs and to ensure critical operations are managed properly and effectively. The 1st International GIS for Airport Management was recently held at Paris Orly airport to discuss these issues.
The first International GIS for Airport Management was recently held within the airport at Orly Airport in Paris, France. This ESRI sponsored event brought together leading airport personnel from many airports and associated operating agencies to learn from each and to exchange ideas about how GIS is being used to operate and manage airports.
Ian Koeppel, Business Development Manager for Transportation at ESRI opened the event. He expressed that the purpose of the event was to exchange experiences and information between interested parties, address common challenges, to provide ESRI with feedback on software development and to provide an opportunity to connect and network with each other.
How are airports using GIS?
There are many more other ways but these few begin to express the wide and varied use for GIS within airport management and operations. Orly Airport itself is a good example, based on the airport size and complexity of operations, where GIS could have striking and lasting advantages.
Michel Ricaud, General Manager at Orly for customer services described the airport which is the 2nd largest in France and the 11th largest in Europe. It serves 25.1 million people yearly, has 221,000 flights each year with 76 per hour. Advantages to the airport include short taxi times and it's central servicing for France-wide traffic and service to Africa as 69% of traffic is domestic and 21% European. It has 142 destinations operating from the site and serves 38 airlines. Airports of this size are essentially small cities in themselves, providing a wide variety of goods and services to global customers.
Majed Khater of Abh Dhabi Airport Company provided a fascinating account of his previous efforts to build GIS into the city of Las Vegas International Airport in comparison to his current work in Abu Dhabi where he began in 2009. "There is a need to decipher the coporate-wide nature of GIS for airport management," he said. "Solutions must be flexible and centralized to organise and distribute necessary information across the enterprise," Khater mentioned. In his view GIS for airports offers these capabilities:
1) ability to combine spatial components to databases
2) more efficient, safe resource sharing
3) allows workers to manage airport activities more actively
4) better customer service
"People use others data for their own business needs," he said. "Each person connects to the data they need for their own business processes." He described an extensive use of GIS at Las Vegas International Airport that continually expanded, matured and managed to provide a wealth of service improvements as users began to participate and share spatial data throughout the airport.
These included such areas as visualizations. water scenarios, environmental analysis, corporate-wide access to information, reduced costs for consulting, facility management improvements and improved space leasing. In the case of Las Vegas, leasing management became a major revenue generator. Later, desktop web-applications flourished for airport layout, security mapping, concession maps, construction materials and expanding terminals. Ultimately this included gate management for aircraft and CAD drawings for facility management.
Airport Management in Norway
Avinor A.S. manages airports across Norway. Margaret Giffen, geodata section leader and Inge Lise Wideroe, GIS administrator for the company described how GIS is being used to manage 46 airports in the country, including both large and small types from the south to the far north. Of these airports, 4 generate positive revenue and 42 do not. This negative financial picture resulting more from government directive and necessity to service small communities, regardless of finances but as a means to provide services to citizens in distant locations.
About 40 million passengers are handled per year in Norway's airports with about 300 million Euro invested yearly to maintain facilities. Improving efficiency in these airports would significantly impact the financial situation for many airports. Operating under one central Citrux server, the overall system functions well, but should it go down, then the entire system can be impacted. Avinor is interested in monitoring in 3D - as to be expected where mountains and fjords all surround airports acround the nation. Visibility information and 3D navigation are highly desired. "Management used to have lots of written procedures, but people could not take the time to find and locate specific details. Now, we have a connected digital system linking operations and procedures," Giffen said. "We include checklists for snowplowing and keep track of our de-icing locations for environmental reasons", she pointed out.
In Norway road networks are now reaching many areas where airports could only reach. This is causing the consideration of financial costs and impacts, and therefore reviews of airport management. Avinor is also involved meeting INSPIRE objectives across Europe.
AENA - SIGRA System for Spain
Jesus Estaban Tudela, senior manager at AENA spoke on the efforts that AENA is involved in including the SIGRA GIS effort for Spanish airports. This system is used for 46 airports and includes over 200 users. It has 11 subsystems including engineering, commercial and environmental components. It involves 1000 advertising mediums ranging from digital signs to airport information and includes invoicing for 3000 contractors, 1,335 buildings and 50,000 circuits.
The SIGRA system includes provision for property, advertising, environmental, fixed assets, intelligent networks, operations and handling as well as aircraft handling. "We see our goal as being able to develop models to provide responses," said Tudela. ADENA has also spent considerable time developing validation and verification systems for handling these information.
At Barcelona airport, 25,000 ground lights are also handled. Intelligent networks in the Grand Canaria airport are monitoring and managing water systems for leaks, losses and think clients are used across the network. Sonometers are also included in the airport management programs as well as rainwater monitoring and runoff at the airports.
Peter Bitter is GIS operations leader at the Zurich airport. He presented on the use of WebGIS for airfield maintenance at that airport. Opened in 1945, Zurich airport has strict night curfew regulations. The area also has strict noise regulations. Three runways are in operation with 100 ramps that need managing.
"Our initial GIS efforts began in 2004 and involved visualization to different departments," Bitter mentioned. "We decided to 'in-source' because we found out-sourcing more expensive," he said. Airfield operation were hosted externally from engineering operations. Beginning with noise monitoring, over 300 noise analysis alone have now been completed using GIS technology for the airport.
The airport is now working toward greater use of 3D for determining obstructions and view analysis. At the same time, the airport is growing and GIS is being used for asset management functions. "A new platform was installed in 2009 and we are now moving toward more fully integrating GIS into the airport enterprise, " Bitter described.
The airport has developed a WebGIS based system that enables printing throughout the facility via WLAN for maps and other graphic information. "We tried considering Open Source solutions but found that many of our cartographic symbology needs could not be met," he said. Airport raunway information is now dynamically labeled. Readers might be interested to know that each slab of cement in a runway is individually managed - meaning hundreds of them are included.
"We really see the benefits of our system as being in the configuration orientation, rather than everyone having to code things," he said. Again, this points to the need for modular and standardised approaches for airport management. Strengths include:
1) stability and performance
2) interoperable - ArcMap,ArcGIS, ArcGIS Server
3) intuitive, easy-to-learn
4) WebGIS show live data
5) powerful authoring capabilities
GIS at Nice Systems
Assaf Kalderon, director of business development at Nice Systems spoke about that company's 24,000 customers worldwide. With over $800 million in sales, Nice Systems is a large-scale integrator that provides airport services in addition to other business IT services. "Basically we are trying to integrate a lot of different information together - the right information to the right people," he said. The company produces a display panel that visually provides the needed information - what's happening? - what to do? - where is it happening? An operator sits before the screen of panels, managing and interpreting the flow and common pieces of information. "It is an adaptive and dynamic process with many stakeholders and collaborations," Kalderon explained.
He described a so called 'Hotwash' debriefing using an example aircraft accident incident. This proceeded to describe how the various persons involved would use spatial information, integrating operations and generating reports through the processes involved. LAX airport in Los Angeles was described and how the various agencies come together from local enforcement to airport maintenance. "It is not only about technology, but how you implement it," he said.
Manchester Airport Group
Vicki Withnell provided an excellent summary of the Manchester International Airport in the UK and how it is using GIS. She explained that the airport there considers the entire catchment region in it's operation. With 975 acres of land, 633 of which are operational and the remainder in environmental management, the airport has 360,000 sq.m. of buildings. This represents a significant amount of infrastructure to manage including 3 terminals, 17 million passengers, 225 destinations, 215,000 air transport movements and 310 companies operating.
Transport analysis, property management, marketing, planning, airfield operations and 15 departments all connect through the airport GIS. The airport also tracks carbon footprint. About GBP 100 million is now being invested for transport infrastructure, and it is expected that the region will manage the airport together with rail operations so they connect and feed into the airport effectively.
Withnell points to an interesting initiative in terms of the Manchester Enterprise Academy, an effort that includes school students in the region using GIS. "We see that GIS has moved from specialist tool to enable the wider enterprise structure with benefits," she said. In her words, "we save GBP 240,000 per year using GIS for services alone."
Christophe Vanden Durpel describes an interesting implementation of GIS for use at the Brussels airport. The Geomatics IT business manager for the airport, he was able to draw upon 15 years of GIS development at the airport. Blueprints shifted from paper to digital, 150 site layers were developed and a strong CAD-GIS system was developed.
There was a time when CAD and GIS personnel operated separately he said, but now they are more integrated. HVAC information is now included into the overall site management system. In 2002 a major shift occurred as the airport moved toward server based GIS. First applications then began in 2007 and AGILE management methods were implemented into the system.
These developments led to what is called 'Airport View' - a fully integrated GIS based system for airport management which breaks down into location and assets. Assets aew grouped into domains. A new snow management system is being integrated into the system.
Woolpert Airport Management
Tom Mochty is a senior vice-president at Woolpert and he described how that company is involved in airport management. This includes 3 approaches for airport management including gradual, phased and rapid growth. In the first case airports begin the process of including GIS a single step at a time, this means developing each area of specialization then moving to the next.
Using examples from Tennessee, Seoul, San Diego and Phoenix, he described the phased approach as involving the focus on special areas like utilities or property management, then adding new phases as one proceeds. The later rapid growth airports attempt to integrate everything at once and are large-scale and multi-dimensional airports with large budgets to enable and support this kind of growth.
All in all the first airport summit was a success with many experiences shared and ideas communicated. It is noteworthy that many of those in attendance could point to actual operations in existence, and could readily describe the benefits of GIS. In most cases the presenters also described a pathway that they embarked upon, which also seemed to indicate that uptake and collaboration within their organisations grew and expanded the need for even more spatial data management and GIS applications. In the most advanced cases, external regional development was considered.
Also Blogged for this Event
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Germany - Munich Satellite Navigation Summit
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Italy - INSPIRE 2013: The Green Renaissance
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Italy - International Workshop at the Crossroad of Earth Information, Technology and Social Sciences
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Austria - RIEGL LIDAR 2013 International User Conference
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Canada - MultiTemp 2013