Airport operators today face unprecedented challenges to provide greater safety and security for their passengers, while still efficiently managing their facilities.

Modern airports are finding an integrated geographic information system (GIS) can help them to better manage both air- and ground-side operations.


Flight Tracking – commercial airlines and air traffic control regulators use GIS for airspace planning and routing applications, integrated flight monitoring, and real time flight tracking.

These applications facilitate greater airspace efficiencies, and support a number of security and public information programs, including noise monitoring and real time flight arrival information.

Three Dimensional Analysis – Recent enhancements to three-dimensional GIS allow more advanced airspace modeling applications to be combined with geographic information from the surrounding communities, such as land use, building heights and modified terrain around the airport. These applications provide a better common operational picture around modern airports, and are used for security vulnerability, obstruction analysis and land use permitting.

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Navigation – numerous aviation administrations have discovered the benefits of PLTS for ArcGIS: a database driven aeronautical solution used to create Enroute charts for navigation. Because all the critical information is stored in the database, updates are easily made and seamlessly incorporated into the navigational charts.


Modern airports are some of the most intensively used facilities around, and must remain at a high level of performance at all times of the year, sometimes under trying circumstances. To meet these challenges, airport managers are turning to GIS technology to support their efforts in planning, operations, maintenance, and security by adding spatial information and modeling capabilities.

GIS provides them with unique information and analytical power not available in other information systems. And most important of all, a comprehensive GIS can support a wide array of airport missions.

Planning and Design – many engineering firms have adopted GIS as a tool for expansion studies and design reviews. Using mapping data from the local community, such as ground access, neighborhood constraints and environmental sensitivities, can significantly reduce the time spent analyzing significant land use issues, particularly for expansions of land locked facilities in large, densely populated urban areas.

GIS software can now provide a greater level of interoperability with other key software tools such as Computer Aided Design (CAD) systems and relational database management systems, allowing airport managers to better integrate their information technology environment. Users can now bring information captured in digital aerial photographs, environmental and design data into the same environment for analysis and planning.

Operations – significant growth in traffic has left many airport properties severely constrained for space. Airport managers must carefully balance security concerns with increasing revenue requirements. GIS can be integrated with property management applications, and used to effectively manage competing needs for revenue-generating facilities and readjust facilities for the ever-changing needs of their tenants.

Maintenance – airports have discovered the value of GIS in a modern maintenance management system. From pavement and runway lighting systems, to terminal side facilities, GIS can provide a powerful graphical component to the maintenance of an airport’s critical infrastructure.

Security – the security needs of airports have been significantly revised in recent years. GIS provides a powerful analytic capability for understanding vulnerability in existing facilities, and a way to integrate disparate security information into a single command environment. Airports have discovered that GIS is an integral part of a well designed security infrastructure, from perimeter control to terminal side access control and monitoring.

For these and many more reasons, discover how GIS software can play a pivotal role in your aviation information management strategy. Discover ESRI® ArcGIS®.