Data, Big Data, Services or ATM Data Service Providers… these words are even more used today as they are key for the future of air traffic management. The SESAR JU, EUROCONTROL and the European Commission see the growing interest in the data.  In fact, they bring a significant added value by being used to create services. So, what is data and what is a service? What is the difference between the two? How do they fit into the ATM domain?

The data

On the one hand, what do we mean by data? Data is an information or something that is known. The data is produced and provided by different sources. For example, in the field of ATM, the data collected can be weather information, flight plans, aeronautical information, radar tracks, etc.

The service

On the other hand, what is a service? A service is a set of functionalities or transactions between different actors (man-machine or machine-machine) using data that are combined, computed and exchange to create added value to provide this service. Between Data and Services, a key element is the value creation. In the ATM field, various services can be offered to airspace users:

  • Air Traffic Services: provision of air traffic control services from an ANSP to airlines
  • ANSP internal service: distribution service of flight plan between ADSPs and ANSPs. This is what Coflight Cloud Services does.
  • IOP (interoperability) technical service: exchange of Flight Object between two FDPs (Flight Data Processing system)

The word service may correspond to different realities depending on the contexts in which it is used. In all cases, a service corresponds to an exchange of data.

How data is used to provide services to airspace users?

In all domains, there is a large amount of heterogeneous data provided by different sources. These data collected without reasoning and without sorting, are raw data. Once this data has been retrieved, it is then stored on servers such as data base or, for large volumes, data lake

After storage, the data is analysed, selected and combined in order to be used by the services: this is called Data Processing. The services will then build on this data and compute and enriched to create the value requested by the user to meet their needs. These services are finally delivered via a system gate that may be an application or an interface able to adapt and to be customized according to the user profile.

The value of the service is based on the loose coupling: i.e. the interface is known and public thanks to SWIM standards. This facilitates interconnections, modularisation of systems and thus provides greater flexibility and connections between customer needs and the system. There is a direct link between the customer value and the system.

Illustration with data use and service production by CCS

The set of data used by Coflight Cloud Services include flight intentions, air traffic constraints, weather data and airspace configuration data. These data, once computed into the Coflight software, show a 4D trajectory. This trajectory is then using to deliver trajectory services to the control position, but also to provide coordination service between controllers (negotiation of trajectories between two controllers).

Coflight Cloud Services became the first to publish its services in the SWIM Registry. These services are developed within the context of the Single European Sky, the SESAR Programme and in line with the Airspace Study Architecture.

The future challenge of ATM data lies in the establishment of a legal framework for data exchange between the different ATM actors. Indeed, this framework should facilitate the creation of services, by allowing the ADSPs to have access to data. For this new actor, the ADSP, the challenge is to have access to a maximum of data to open the service portfolio and create more value for the airspace users.