Airport Geographic Information Systems

The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) new Airports GIS (AGIS) program is intended to become a key component to manage data that is integral to the planning, funding, development and protection of your airport. Just like the popular mapping technology that has allowed online interaction with our world through applications like Google Maps and mobile GPS, AGIS is also transforming the way geographically based information for airports can be organized, viewed, and analyzed.

Undertaken by the FAA as part of the Next Generation National Airspace System (NEXGEN), the AGIS program seeks to standardize and streamline the data collection process at airports throughout the nation and organize the data into one web-based program. The data is collected through a combination of aerial imagery and field surveys to accuracy standards specified by the FAA. Three FAA Advisory Circulars contain guidance on the new AGIS requirements and can be viewed at the FAA’s AGIS website.

So why is the AGIS initiative important to Airports?
Through new published guidance, the FAA is requiring certain airport development processes to now comply with the new AGIS requirements. Key deliverables that will require AGIS compliant data include:

  • Airport Layout Plan Updates
  • Instrument Approach Procedure (IAP) Development
  • Capital Improvement Project Funding
  • As-Built Construction Data

What is included in an AGIS?
In general, the AGIS program provides data standards for facilities, airspace obstructions, ownership, environment, and operational/security areas. While many of the features may already have been highlighted in some way on a traditional airport deliverable, the GIS standard allows features to be better leveraged for information management purposes. What was once a static deliverable is now a dynamic database. In addition, an airport sponsor can build upon the AGIS foundation for other local value added features.

How do airports collect AGIS data?
FAA guidance provides specific protocols for collection, submission and approval of AGIS data. All data is submitted through the AGIS website for review and approval by the FAA and the National Geodetic Survey (NGS). Location accuracies for specific facilities must by certified by a licensed engineer or surveyor.

What are some benefits of AGIS to an airport?
Through the AGIS process, an airport develops a comprehensive information database including:

  • High resolution aerial imagery for use in facility management and map creation
  • Detailed infrastructure mapping and associated data for facility management
  • Detailed ground contour mapping for uses in ground feature identification or engineering applications
  • Airspace obstruction identification for protection of aeronautical surfaces and approach minimums
  • Land parcel and lease record repository
  • More efficient collaboration with FAA and consultants
  • Better accuracy of data
  • More efficient processing

CMT can help
CMT has been providing GIS capabilities to airports for years and involved in pioneering airport GIS databases and applications. Our staff are well versed in geospatial technology and intimately familiar with the new FAA standards, applying them on several projects. CMT is also leading one of the few projects in the FAA’s E-ALP pilot program.

If you would like to learn even more about AGIS and the requirements and benefits of this new program, please contact Brad Hamilton, P.E., C.M. who serves as the Aviation Planning Group Manager at 217-572-1040.

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