Essential ArcGIS Aviation Charting vocabulary

Available with Aviation Charting license.

Airport Diagram Chart (ADC)

An Airport Diagram Chart is a chart that facilitates the movement of ground aircraft.

Aeronautical Data Quality (ADQ)

Refers to the European Commission-adopted Regulation EC 73/2010 on January 26, 2010, laying down requirements on the quality of aeronautical data and aeronautical information for a single European sky. The overall objective of this rule is to achieve aeronautical information of sufficient quality, accuracy, timeliness, and granularity as a key enabler of the European Air Traffic Management (ATM) Network.

Aeronautical Information System (AIS)

This is a data model based on AIXM 4.5 and 5.x that enables aeronautical information management, charting, and data exchange.

Aeronautical Information Exchange Model (AIXM)

A data model designed to enable the management and distribution of Aeronautical Information System data in digital format.

Aerodrome Mapping Database (AMDB)

An AMDB is a geographic information system (GIS) database of an airport describing the following:

  • The spatial layout of an airport
  • The geometry of features (for example, runways, taxiways, buildings) described as points, lines, and polygons
  • Further information characterizing the features and their functions, which are stored as attributes (for example, surface type, name/object identifier, and runway slope)

The following standards describing the structure of AMDBs were developed by RTCA and EUROCAE:

  • RTCA DO-272A/EUROCAE ED-99D: User Requirements for Aerodrome Mapping Information
  • RTCA DO-291/EUROCAE ED-119: Interchange Standards for Terrain, Obstacle, and Aerodrome Mapping Data

Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP)

An Air Navigation Service Provider is an organization that separates aircraft on the ground or in flight in a dedicated block of airspace on behalf of a state or a number of states. ANSPs often have aeronautical data management and charting requirements.

Air Traffic Services (ATS)

This is a generic term meaning all of the following:

  • Flight Information Service
  • Alerting Service
  • Air Traffic Advisory Service
  • Air Traffic Control Service
    • Area Control Service
    • Approach Control Service
    • Airport Control Service

Area Navigation (RNAV)

Allows a pilot to fly a selected course to a predetermined point, without the need to overfly ground-based navigation facilities, by using waypoints.

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)

The Civil Aviation Authority is a government body in each country that oversees the approval and regulation of civil aviation. Many CAAs are aeronautical data and product providers.

Distance Measuring Equipment (DME)

A pulse-type electronic navigation system that shows the pilot, by an instrument panel indication, the number of nautical miles between the aircraft and a ground station or waypoint.

European AIS Database (EAD)

A centralized reference database of quality-assured aeronautical information for airspace users and an integrated AIS solution for service providers, provided by the EUROCONTROL Member States. EAD is a central authoritative source for AIXM data internationally. As such, it is the best source to use to initialize an Esri AIS production database using commercial off-the-shelf ETL tools.

Extract, Transform, Load (ETL)

ETL is often referred to as data transformation, which allows you to control the dataflow by mapping geometry and attributes in the source data to geometry and attributes in the destination. This process may include a change in coordinate system, spatial feature types, or the attribute schema.

Electronic Terrain and Obstacle Data (eTOD)

Electronic Terrain and Obstacle Data consists of four coverage areas around any airport, collected according to specific numerical requirements for each area and stored in a geodatabase with ICAO-defined attributes. All ICAO-participating states must have electronic terrain and obstacle data.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

The Federal Aviation Administration is an operating body of the United States Department of Transportation and is responsible for the safety of civil aviation.

Final Approach and Take Off (FATO) Area

A defined area of an airfield where helicopters and other Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft can land and take off.

Holding pattern (HP)

A racetrack pattern, involving two turns and two legs, used to keep an aircraft within a prescribed airspace with respect to a geographic fix. A standard pattern uses right turns; nonstandard patterns use left turns.

Instrument Approach Procedure (IAP)

A series of predetermined maneuvers for the orderly transfer of an aircraft under IFR from the beginning of the initial approach to a landing or to a point from which a landing may be made visually.

International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

The International Civil Aviation Organization is responsible for creating standards for aeronautical organizations to follow. They work closely with organizations such as FAA and EUROCONTROL to build consensus for a common industry standard for data format, exchange, and chart production.

Instrument Flight Rules (IFR)

Rules and regulations established by the FAA to govern flight under conditions in which flight by outside visual reference is not safe. IFR flight depends on flying by reference to instruments in the flight deck, and navigation is accomplished by reference to electronic signals.

Instrument Landing System (ILS)

An electronic system that provides both horizontal and vertical guidance to a specific runway, used to execute a precision instrument approach procedure.

Minimum Descent Altitude (MDA)

The lowest altitude (in feet MSL) to which descent is authorized on final approach or during circle-to-land maneuvering in execution of a nonprecision approach.

Military Operations Area (MOA)

Airspace established for the purpose of separating certain military training activities from IFR traffic.

Minimum Safe Altitude (MSA)

The minimum altitude depicted on approach charts that provides at least 1,000 feet of obstacle clearance for emergency use within a specified distance from the listed navigation facility.

Non-Directional Beacon (NDB)

A low- or medium-frequency radio beacon that transmits signals whereby the pilot of an aircraft equipped with direction-finding equipment can determine bearing to or from the radio beacon and track to or from the station.

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency provides timely, relevant, and accurate geospatial intelligence in support of national security objectives.

Obstacle Identification Surface (OIS)

The Obstacle Identification Surface is an imaginary 3D surface calculated from a runway centerline and used as an analysis to determine whether obstacles in the runway environment pose a hazard to safe aircraft operations. There are many types of OIS based on United States and international standards.

Standard Instrument Departure (SID) procedure

Published procedures to expedite clearance delivery and to facilitate transition between takeoff and en route operations.

Standard Terminal Arrival Route (STAR)

A preplanned IFR ATC arrival procedure published for pilot use in graphic and/or textual form.

Tactical Air Navigation beacon (TACAN)

An electronic navigation system used by military aircraft, providing both distance and direction information.

Visual Flight Rules (VFR)

Flight rules adopted by the FAA governing aircraft flight using visual references. VFR operations specify the amount of ceiling and the visibility the pilot must have to operate according to these rules. When the weather conditions are such that the pilot cannot operate according to VFR, Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) must be used.

VHF Omni-Directional Range (VOR)

Electronic navigation equipment in which the flight deck instrument identifies the radial or line from the VOR station, measured in degrees clockwise from magnetic north, along which the aircraft is located.