As a new employee to Snowflake I was expecting to spend my first few weeks staring at a computer in the office learning more about the company I had just joined. However that was not to be the case. In just my second week I was told to get myself to Brussels. And so without delay I jumped on the Eurostar and headed for the AIXM and SWIM Seminar at EUROCONTROL.

The Seminar was intended for developers and operational personnel who wished to understand in more detail the Aeronautical Information Exchange Model (AIXM) version 5.1, and organised by EUROCONTROL themselves. The event was well attended and saw representatives from organisations across the globe – ranging from National Aviation Authorities and military organisations to private companies all wishing to learn and discuss the risks and opportunities that AIXM 5.1 provides.

AIXM – the finer points

With excellent presentations providing the participants with a wealth of information, the event provided me a valuable opportunity to discuss some of the finer points of AIXM with the developers from a technical perspective, as well as gaining an operational perspective of what AIXM 5.1 will provide.

Topics covered included:

  • AIXM – purpose, scope, implementation and future evolution.
  • AIXM 5.1 UML packages: Airport, Shared, Airspace, Navaids and Points, Route, Flow/flight restrictions.
  • Temporality Concept
  • AIXM 5.1 XML/GML Schema: Extensibility, Tools (AIXM Viewer demo)
  • GML encoding guidelines
  • ADQ, INSPIRE and Metadata
  • Digital NOTAM
  • WXXM overview
  • FIXM overview
  • SESAR SWIM Overview

There were many opportunities for discussion during the event and the Temporality Concept presentation had many of the participants active, no doubt due to its relevancy for both Operational personnel and Developers. Most delegates where happy with what they heard, however a few questions relating to this topic and how it would be implemented were raised – mainly concerning whether to send a new BASELINE rather than a PERMDELTA.


The final session gave an overview of SESAR Systems Wide Information Management (SWIM). This consisted of analysing the standards, infrastructure and governance enabling the management of Air Traffic Management information and its exchange between qualified parties via interoperable services. Back in October the Snowflake team picked up the overall Best-In-Class award during the SESAR SWIM Master Class, with our prototype Building SWIM B2B Web Services Using Open Standards, and the presentation at the AIXM seminar provided a good overview of SWIM and what is to be achieved across the aviation industry in terms of information flows within ATM.

It was great to see within the seminar our free ATM viewer for AIXM being demonstrated as one of the available AIXM tools. It demonstrated the effectiveness of the Viewer to visualise AIXM 5.1 data.

Being shipped out to Brussels and EUROCONTROL was an enjoyable and interesting way to kick off my second week at Snowflake and immerse myself in AIXM. I’m told this is the norm so where will Snowflake be off to next? Looks like Madrid for the World ATM Congress.

By | 2012-12-17T11:11:40+00:00 December 17th, 2012|Air Traffic Management, ATM Viewer, Events, News|