Friday, February 3, 2012

The start of something great; Open Aviation Map

Ever since I took my private pilots license the thought of how old and outdated my goverments aviation data is distributed have been coming back to me once ever now and then. The thought started to grow in me and today I've come far enough to say that I've started to do something with the problem. I've started an open source mapping project. You've might have heard of Open Street Map, the idéa goes like this:

Let's create a website and software infrastructure that makes it really easy for the lay man to create a map. Then, instead of having to bother about drawing all these ways, junktions and houses, we'll just have to create the software that makes it really easy to do.

The thing is that they've come real far on this thought. Just take a look at OpenStreetMap and look at your local area. Chanses are you see a really good map of roads, important houses etc. Now comes the part that makes this map so different from all the other maps around, Google, Bing etc.

  • This map is make by volunteers that just enjoy the feeling of creating something important and complex.

  • The map is completely free, you can do whatever you want with. You always have to share what you do with it under the same license. This makes sure that if someone does a really smart thing; everyone benefits from it which I think is really neat!

What I've done is blatantly copy OpenStreetMaps philosophy and software architecture and used it for aviation data. To take a look at the page go to OpenAviationMap.

It lets hobby aviators around the world stick their heads together and create a world map for flying!
Already before things are stable Germany has a load of data, thanks to Udo Geschonneck who's done a great job adding the navaids and started some aerodromes there.
If one man can create that much data in just a few days, then creating a world map maybe issn't such a crazy idéa afterall.


  1. I wonder that it took this long to transfer the ideas of OSM to aviation. But better later than never :-)
    Looking at the map itself I find CTRs of some airfields in the north of Germany but not aerodrom traffic circuits and reporting points. I've developed an Android application and look for access to this type of data. Since I've been mapping for OSM before I very much like the OSM approach to have up-to-date data without paying for the data itself.


  2. Well, data is coming in as we speak. Especially since many goverments release their aviation data in free formats and licences. If you know anything about German aviation data, please let me know. It's easy to write a little program that takes some format and converts it to OSM xml which then is uploaded to the database.

  3. On one of the hobby pilot web sites I found a file (dated 2005) in mapsource gdb format containing the aerodrome traffic circuits of all german airfields. I used gpsbabel to transform some of them into KML an had a look at them in Google Earth. For the airfields I checked the traffic circuit itself seems to be correct. If you would import this file there would be at least a starting point for corrections by users of OAM. They would have to add information like altitude of the traffic circuit, runway numbers, tower frequency, reporting points, ...
    As I already wrote, as a application developer I'm interested in the raw data, not the rendered map. Is there a (XML?) interface (like on OSM has one) providing the raw data for a bounding box? Currently your OAM runs really fast - hopefully it remains that way once it becomes more popular.


  4. We are running the exact same sofware stack as OSM, rails-port. That means that all technology developed for OSM works on OpenAviationMap to. You can for example use JOSM to upload an XML file.
    If you want to download XML from the database, just navigate to the area that is interesting, choose the "Export" tab on top of the page and choose OSM XML as the export format.
    If anything is unclear, just ask =)

  5. Hi there!

    If you are looking for german airspace: There is an OpenAir-File that shows only the airspace.
    I don't know where to get the aerodrom traffic circuits and reporting points but this could be the first step.
    Perhaps there is a possibility to import reporting points listed in a file. Unforunately I don't know any file ... :-(

    Good work so far.

    Greetings from Berlin (Germany)

  6. I forgot to post the link... ;-)
    Here it is: