Esri Solution Helps Airports Meet New FAA Rules

Many airports throughout the United States are adopting Esri’s ArcGIS for Aviation: Airports, a solution that helps them meet new federal regulations that require a comprehensive digital data standard to support the next generation air traffic control system.

Thousands of airports across the country must develop a geographic information system (GIS) to comply with a series of new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations covering how they collect and submit data. At stake is an airport’s eligibility for a share of the over $3 billion in FAA airport improvement grants that are issued every year. These grants help airports improve their infrastructure including constructing new runways, rehabilitating pavement, building new facilities, and improving safety.

While some airports already use GIS widely, many do not; they rely instead on a combination of business systems and computer-aided design to manage their assets and support planning.

ArcGIS for Aviation: Airports was designed with both experienced GIS users and novices in mind, said Bruce Frank, aviation practice manager for Esri Professional Services. Users include airports, local/regional governments, state departments of transportation (DOTs), and airport engineering firms.

Besides having the foundation for a complete GIS, people who work with the solution will also have over 500 separate data checks that correspond to the FAA requirements. The solution also includes a data model, workflows, and templates specific to airports.

The solution also enables users to automatically generate and analyze 3D obstacle identification surfaces. With that capability, airports can quickly determine whether an existing or planned development poses a hazard to the safe navigation of aircraft in the vicinity of the airport. For example, users can quickly evaluate development proposals that could create flight path intrusions (e.g., a radio tower.)

Users can install the solution themselves or receive support from Esri or one of its partners. The aeronautical team in Professional Services is currently working to implement the solution with several clients, including the Wyoming Department of Transportation and the Federated States of Micronesia Department of Transportation, Communication and Infrastructure.

Frank said he and his team listen to feedback from users and continually incorporate their suggestions into product updates.

Because the software is built to meet stringent FAA regulations and incorporates additional international standards, ArcGIS for Aviation is useful to airports around the world. Visit ArcGIS for Aviation: Airports to learn more. Contact Frank at or visit Esri Professional Services.