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Ames Team Releases Air Traffic Management Ontology to the Public

The NASA Air Traffic Management (ATM) Ontology was released to the public through NASA’s Open Data Portal on March 19, 2018. The release comes after securing approvals from several data providers, including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST), and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The ATM Ontology packages and redistributes samples of integrated flight data, weather data, traffic advisory data, airport performance data, and national airspace infrastructure data, all described using a common metadata vocabulary.

BACKGROUND: The Intelligent Systems Division (Code TI), in collaboration with the Aviation Systems Division (Code AF), developed the NASA ATM Ontology as part of a semantic data integration prototype that fuses various sources of data stored in the Sherlock Aviation Data Warehouse. The ontology serves as a unifying model and vocabulary for describing and interrelating ATM data. It includes a wide range of classes, properties, and relationships covering aspects of flight and navigation, aircraft equipment and systems, airspace infrastructure, meteorology, air traffic management initiatives, and other topics. The ATM Ontology functions as an integrative superstructure upon which data can be overlayed from multiple stove-piped aviation data sources, thus enabling cross-source queries and analyses that would otherwise be too time-consuming and cost-prohibitive to accomplish. The ATM Ontology release includes the ontology’s complete vocabulary plus illustrative samples of July 2014 data described using the vocabulary.

Although ontologies are not software, they can be similarly shared and reused to design and build aviation-related software and data management systems. Ontologies from different domains can be easily combined and extended to create customized data models to suit different purposes. Within the ontology development community there is an active culture of ontology-sharing analogous to the situation found in the open-source software community. Requests for receipt of the ATM Ontology have been received from the FAA, EUROCONTROL, private industry, and the National Aviation Intelligence Integration Office within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI).

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: Airspace Operations and Safety Program (AOSP)

TEAM: Code TI: Rich Keller and Mei Wei; Code TNC (the Advanced Computing Branch): Shubha Ranjan; and Code AF: the Sherlock Data Warehouse Team

POINT OF CONTACT: Dr. Rich Keller, rich.keller@nasa.gov

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