AAI to Deploy GIS Apps

by Sonal Desai    Jan 18, 2007

The Airport Authority of India has given a breather to the air-route designers at the Air Traffic Control.

In a bid to make designing air- routes easier, Airport Authority of India is deploying Geographic Information System (GIS) application for faster issuance of no-objection certificates for height clearance to the construction industry.

The move will make it easier for AAI to issue no-objection certificates to structures that are developed around the notified area around the airports. It will also help the ATC decide on the approach and departure routes from airports and aerodrome.

At present, high-rise structures obstruct air traffic. Air routes have to be designed in such a fashion that they are free of high structures. AAI currently assesses structure heights manually.

Reliance sources at AAI informed that there is a lot of scope for construction on the airport land. At present, locations on the map are pointed out manually. Certain maps that need to be transcribed from the building proposal departments in municipal corporations into cartography departments are also done manually. The new application would automate issuance of NOCs, and save a lot of time, as its chief function would comprise map transcription. Many more projects will be now executed.

According to N.B. Mathur, GM- IT, AAI, “A NOC for height clearance is required for construction projects, such as high-rise buildings or communications masts, which fall within 20 km of an airport. The NOCAS project automates prioritization and processing of NOC applications based on criteria that streamline the approval process.”

Height clearance is essential for safe air traffic control. All such clearances are issued from either Regional Headquarters or Corporate Headquarters. Always a good number of cases are pending for disposal. Even building construction or towers being erected by AAI are examined and a height clearance is accorded before taking up any work, he said. This software should be available in another 6 months time.

The authority has outsourced software development to NIIT Limited, parent company of NIIT-GIS Ltd. (ESRI India).

The enterprise-wide geographic information system (GIS) application will be Internet- based with a link available at the AAI Web site. Two categories of users will have access to the site: NOC applicants and employees involved in the certification process. ArcGIS Server products will be installed on the AAI Web server and will be linked to a database server hosting ArcSDE and Microsoft’s SQL Server. The application will be written using ArcGIS Server Application Development Framework (ADF) for .NET and will make use of ArcObjects, a suite of mapping and GIS components. Users would be able to access the application through Internet browsers.

Mathur said, “GIS will enable applicants to file and track application on-line and also mark sites on the map. The application software will do all calculations and will propose the heights which can be cleared.”

He added, many people do not provide geographic co-ordinates. AAI employees have to locate the plot and find co-ordinates for them. Marking these sites on the map will be manual. Delay in clearance if any, will be on this count. However, any applicant who submits the detail will get clearance expeditiously.

Rajesh Mathur, president- NIIT, GIS said that these applications will initially be installed at Delhi and Hyderabad. NIIT-GIS’s role is to develop the application and deploy it. “We are technology providers and will provide the core software for the project.”

Projects at times are not given clearance because of lack of documents/evidence. This solution will make issuance of NOC easier and enable faster implementation of projects. The installation of the application platform will be completed by March 07. AAI here added that the application will be operational in the next six months.

“It will help AAI to make its application and related data available to many internal and external users in a very secure and accurate environment with a low cost of ownership,” Mathur added.

AAI has centralized servers in Delhi and thus the system will be installed in Delhi. Total cost of the project is around Rs.70 lakh including hardware. Servers will be in cluster mode, which takes care of the breakdowns in the hardware to give fail free service. Access to servers will obviously be through Internet for applicants and through intranet for AAI users. Selection of NIIT was through open tender as per specifications defined therein.