AIS to AIM: The required journey towards SWIM

Conventional paper-based aeronautical publications are notoriously difficult to update and maintain. At the same time, aviation industry growth is increasing the need for more efficient, quality aeronautical information systems that can share information in real-time. High-quality data subsequently enhances the efficiency of air traffic management (ATM) and helps all parties to make well-informed decisions.

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User requirements

With the growing demand in air traffic putting pressure on airspace capacity, the ATM community needs timely, relevant, accurate, accredited and quality-assured information to collaborate and to make informed decisions about the efficient use of airspace capacity.

The conversion from paper (or PDF) to the digital form required for AIM can help to get the necessary level of accuracy. The transition from AIS to AIM focuses on data accuracy through Quality Management Systems (QMS). It is at this stage that accurate data also enhances safety.

Using AIM to exchange digital information with other parties over the System Wide Information Management (SWIM) makes it possible to use that information in real-time for a much more efficient management of local air traffic.

AIS to AIM Roadmap (source ICAO)


AIM accuracy for a quality SWIM

In SWIM, users can provide, consume and exchange aeronautical, air traffic, meteorological and other relevant information that help enhance the efficiency and increase the safety of every phase of a flight.

Standardisation is needed for information-sharing to be useful at all levels – local, regional and global. For this digitalisation to work, however, quality and accuracy must also be assured. Given the large number of data originators and end users, guaranteeing quality throughout the entire data chain (pdf, see slide 10) is quite a challenge. Hence, the transition from AIS to AIM centres around ensuring the quality of data with the emphasis on QMS and taking part in an integrated information exchange using standard formats (AIXM) via SWIM.

The wide accessibility to high-quality, relevant and timely aeronautical information for all airspace users is an enhancement to aviation safety, since using the wrong information could easily lead to a fatal accident.

Local context Gap-analysis

Different countries have different challenges when it comes to transitioning from AIS to AIM. In our experience, an excellent first step is a gap-analysis that examines the individual situation – within the local context – and applies the relevant international expertise. This helps to identify what actions to take.

Some gaps may be in technology and IT system requirements. However, it is important to be aware that there is much more to a successful implementation of SWIM than simply having the right technology.

It is the gaps on the non-technology side that take the most time and effort. Change management will be needed to provide knowledge to the operators and make clear their roles as data originator or data publisher, as well as organise the processes required for the data quality assurance essential to SWIM.

It is on this ‘soft side’ of the implementation that attention to the local context is usually most critical to its success!


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2 thoughts on “AIS to AIM: The required journey towards SWIM

  1. Dear Jan-Philipp Lauer,

    Thank you so much for your invaluable comment. The fact that we brought up this topic is exactly due to the slow progress of the transition. Some States have not even met all the requirements of Phase 1-Consolidation, such as the issue of WGS84.

    The factors that hold back the progress may vary from States to States. One of the reasons could be a lack of clear rules and regulation that will guide the implementation, such as a detailed requirements for each role particularly for data originators. In this situation, the data originators are waiting for a clear direction from the regulator before making any move as it involves a significant investment in both the technology and in human resources in their organisations.

    In other cases that we have witnessed, even when the rules and regulations are in place, the extent of the adaptation expected from the parties involved particularly from data originators can be large. The investment in technology as an enabler; qualifications for the data originators and for their qualified employees; specifications around accuracy, resolution, and time frame of the data and information are among also the factors that slow down the transition.

    Hope that you would not mind if I would like to get in touch to further exchange our views on this issue.

    Once again, your comments are truly appreciated.

    Yours sincerely,
    Nikki Limtanakool

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