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pulsar, pulsar consulting

Digital SNOWTAM Trial



  • GIDPlus Framework: Java EE, Struts2, Spring, loC,Spring AOP, Hibernate, Velocity, XHTML/CSS, AJAX, ExtJS, JavaScript, JQuery, JSON.
  • Apache Tomcat
  • LDAP
  • PL/SQL
  • Struts2 REST plugin
  • TOAD
  • Eclipse
  • Oracle 10g
  • Oracle Spatial
  • GoogleMap API
  • Power Designer

“Airlines and airport users need a way to accurately read and visualize the status of movement surfaces contaminations in winter operating conditions.”

In other words, traffic controllers and pilots need to visualize with details the snow, ice and water status (also called “contaminations”) on the runways, taxiways, aprons, etc.

Based on the AIXM 5.1 “Surface Contamination” model and harnessing the full power of Pulsar GIDPlus development framework, the Digital SNOWTAM Trial Project took place from November 2009 until March 2010 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.


 "Airport Overview is very helpful tool for dispatchers"


Project Objectives

The Trial was focused on the following four objectives:

  • Demonstrate to end users, primarily to Airlines, immediate benefits that can be obtained from Digital NOTAM implementations based on AIXM though applications providing highly important graphical and digital information in winter operating conditions: snow contamination and friction coefficient.
  • Validate the AIXM 5.1 – Surface Contamination model.
  • Test and investigate a REST Interface (Web Services) for the provision of AIXM 5.1 data in a computer to computer context.
  • Start the development of open source code and algorithms that support “AIXM 5.1 to NOTAM text” and “structured NOTAM text to AIXM 5.1” conversions. More specifically, exploit the semi-structured format of the ICAO SNOWTAM messages, including numerous local deviations (both import and export).


Software Architecture

The Digital SNOWTAM Trial Project consists in a series of 9 Java Applications working in close collaboration and sharing a common core.



Specific Tasks

Pulsar’s team of architects, analysts and developers has undertaken the following tasks:

  • Design of the AIXM 5.1 database compliant to the AIXM 5.1 XML model
  • Mapping packages to
    • analyze, validate, convert & import SNOWTAM Messages (ICAO compliant or including local deviations) in AIXM 5.1 format
    • convert and export AIXM 5.1 to ICAO compliant SNOWTAM Messages
    • export valid AIXM 5.1 XML and make it available through a REST Interface
    • import data from EAD (AIXM 4.5) through an EAD/ESI/ENA interface
    • import AMDB data (for full graphical airport visualization)
    • export KML (for 3D visualization under Google Earth and others)
  • Design and development of a complete Web Application allowing administrators, data providers and data users from different organizations to edit, visualize and manage SNOWTAM Messages together with their associated Features, Timeslices and Objects, with complete management of the Temporality.


Target Audience

The first Trial took place end 2009 / begin 2010 and was open for participation to:

  • Data providers: airports and NOTAM Offices that are responsible for issuing SNOWTAM messages and that are interested to exploit the advanced capabilities of the digital SNOWTAM concept;
  • Data users: airlines that are interested to evaluate the usability of the SNOWTAM information in a graphical format, with enhancements such as precise shape of the surfaces covered by snow
  • Developers: companies that are interested to exploit the digital SNOWTAM (AIXM 5) encodings programmatically in order to test ideas and develop new products for end users.-


Key Facts

  • The application provides an Airport Overview page which displays the current SNOWTAM situation across the world
  • It offers a graphical view of the airport surfaces’ status (contaminant and friction coefficient) in the European area. It makes use of detailed Aerodrome Mapping Databases where they are available (or Runway geometries created from available threshold points)
  • It converts and displays the SNOWTAM Messages that are received through the EAD.
  • The Trial supports the AIXM 5.1 “Surface Contamination” model.
  • The data is available in graphical format using the application and also in AIXM 5.1 format using a REST interface.
  • It allows ANSPs / Data Providers to monitor the quality of their own SNOWTAM messages and to quickly identify validation errors.

On 13 September 2010, the final report of the first Digital SNOWTAM Trial was published. This document contains a summary of the results of the Digital (Graphical) SNOWTAM Trial executed by EUROCONTROL between December 2009 - May 2010. The trial included participation of airline operational centers, NOTAM offices and one airport. 

How Data Users rated the application:

  • 80% (8/10) as an “Excellent” application
  • 10% Good
  • 10% Fair
  • Overall: 55% Excellent, 30% Good, 5% Fair

More Information

Read also the description of the project by Eurocontrol here and the SNOWTAM Harmonisation Guidelines here.