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pulsar, pulsar consulting


Between June and October 2012, Pulsar participated to the SWIM Master Class organized under SESAR’s umbrella to help demonstrating the usability of the European Network Management NOP B2B Web Services infrastructure. In that context, Pulsar proposed a Visualizer of Digital SNOWTAM Impact on Flights, based on the Digital SNOWTAM application developed by Pulsar for Eurocontrol, and integrating more information coming from SWIM about airports, flights and routes. This working prototype was called SNOWIM.

Project Scope and Objectives

Airlines and other airport users in Europe need accurate and easy to read/visualize information. One of the issues of aeronautical data providers and users encounter, like ANSPs, Airports, Airlines, Eurocontrol, is the diversity of data sources, and thus, the data quality related issues:

  • Discrepancies or differences between different sources
  • Data consistency, integrity, normalisation, or data duplication
  • Statistics for discrepancies
  • Diagnosis of reasons for the differences and/or for the duplication
  • Investigating means and criteria to choose the right data, for the right service, at the right moment

These needs and constraints are one of the important reasons of existence of the SWIM Programme.

This brought Pulsar to propose the first usage for the SWIM B2B Services: using SWIM available data for comparison with other/local data, showing possible discrepancies (allowing further investigation and diagnosis for the found differences). For that, we have elicited an existing application, Digital SNOWTAM, with its own data, and built on top of it the proof-of-concept, using data from both sources to make comparisons.

Another important need of aeronautical data providers and users is the operational awareness, especially in safety-critical situations. Airport users need accurate and easy to read/visualize information about the status of the runway contamination, for example with snow and ice in winter operating conditions. This specific need gave birth some years ago to the Digital SNOWTAM Application, installed for NOTAM operators’ usage at EAD site.

Starting from this need/constraint, and based on available data in SWIM B2B Web Service, Pulsar proposed another usage of SWIM data, for operational awareness situations in Airports: when contamination with snow, ice, or water forces Runways closure, to make available the list of potentially impacted Flights within next 24h, together with Flights plan details, allowing identifying very quickly which ones are planned to follow a route going from or to an Airport with some contaminated runways, and having the opportunity to anticipate rerouting and delays.

Proposed Solution

Based on the AIXM 5.1 “Surface Contamination” model, the Digital SNOWTAM Application got live in 2009 with the active participation of the EAD, airports, airlines and NOTAM Offices.

Coupled with the automatic conversion of full text ICAO SNOWTAM messages, AIXM 4.5 and AMDB data, the Web Application offers a fast and user friendly graphical representation of airport features and contaminations over satellite/topographical maps. The HMI also provides for the first time a large scale continental overview of operating conditions.

The opening of SWIM B2B services offers the possibility to enrich this solution with CFMU’s reliable information on flights.

The resulting prototype demonstrates immediate benefits of interoperability between Digital NOTAM implementation and SWIM B2B services, by implementing new screens for the aeronautical data quality and operational awareness, as explained above.

Not only this proved the utility of SWIM B2B web services, but proved the concept of integrating SWIM data smoothly into existing aeronautical applications.



SNOWIM is a full Web2.0 Application (light client) based on:

  • GID Plus Framework (Pattern MVC, Java/Java EE, Struts2, Spring, IoC, Hibernate, Velocity, XHTML/CSS, Ajax, ExtJS, JavaScript, JQuery, JSon)
  • Tomcat
  • LDAP
  • PL/SQL
  • Struts2 REST Plugin
  • Maven
  • Toad
  • Eclipse
  • Oracle 10g, Oracle Spatial
  • PowerDesigner
  • GoogleMap API, with SOAP calls to SWIM B2B services.


Main concepts and terminology

Term Definition
AIXM  Aeronautical Information Exchange Model
AMDB  Airport Mapping Database
ATM  Air Traffic Management
EAD European AIS Database
ENA ESI Network Adapter
ESI EAD System Interface

International NOTAM Operations

Part of a suite of specially-designed software applications that provide access to all European AIS Database (EAD) functions

NOTAM Notice to Airman
SDO Static Data Operation
SNOWTAM       NOTAM publishing information about ice, snow and standing water on aerodrome movement areas, also called Runways and Taxiways contamination


Main functionalities inherited from the Digital SNOWTAM Application

  • The AMDB converter took some data provided by Eurocontrol to initially build all runway geometries.
  • The SDO database feeds the AIXM 4.5 converter to regularly update static data and geospatial information.
  • The INO database feeds the SNOWTAM converter to populate the SNOWTAM database. This implies the automatic treatment of about 900 SNOWTAM per day (during winter in Europe).
  • A full REST service gives access to these data.
  • The Web interface allows all kinds of interactions as depicted in the screenshots below, but also managing SNOWTAM messages which have been rejected by the mapping or downloading data in KML format.



Login Page

pulsar, snowim


Overview of SNOWTAM messages on a map

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Airport Search, by Designator, name or IATA code

pulsar, snowim


Airport Map displaying features and contaminations as overlays (polygon or icons) and allowing to edit contaminations

pulsar, snowim


Main Functionalities coming as new SNOWIM Components

New Java modules were added to SNOWIM business logics layer to allow interrogating SWIM B2B services via SOAP calls and interacting in various ways as depicted in the screenshots below. Moreover, in the current prototype, a manual pre-treatment is made to interrogate SWIM B2B services and download files listing airports.


Launching comparison between data received from EAD to the data available via SWM B2B services

pulsar, snowim

List of compared Airports within a selected area, with IATA designator, name and control type

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Comparison Details on selected Airport attributes (name, ICAO location, IATA designator and others)

pulsar, snowim


Comparison Details on selected Airport Reference Point attributes, like coordinates

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Comparison Details on selected Airport Served Cities

pulsar, snowim


Searching impacted flights, i.e. arriving at or leaving from a selected airport in a time window of 24 hours (the default validity period of a snowtam)

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Displaying the list of impacted flights with identifier, departure airport, takeoff time, destination airport, landing time, aircraft identifier

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Displaying the details of an impacted flight (such as aircraft identifier, aircraft type, departure airport, destination airport, flight type, flight rule, estimated total elapsed time, estimated off block time, wake turbulence category or route)

pulsar, snowim


Business Flow and Benefits

An application such as SNOWIM can benefit to all participants in a real interoperability chain, including various sources of information coming from various data providers, as depicted in the flow diagram below:

Many actors will benefit from an application relating SNOWTAM and flights:

  • Airlines and airports will find it helpful to anticipate any traffic issues due to contaminations in whatever airport of the network.
  • Customers will be reassured with a better understanding of their own situation when the traffic is disturbed.

Possible enhancements include displaying the routes of impacted flights, allowing identifying airports being or not under snow all along its route.