This July it is likely that more of the passengers arriving at San Diego International Airport are asking themselves, “How geospatial is this airport?” than at any other time of year. Many of the over 15,000 ESRI UC Conference attendees arrive through the airport. The answer is that San Diego’s airport is very spatial and so are an increasing number of airports worldwide. Even before getting into infrastructure management, San Diego International Airport provides a SanMap interactive map for passengers, tracks California Least Tern nests on its grounds as part of the California Least Tern Endangered Species Protection Program, and uses GIS in its Airport Noise Mitigation to respond to noise complaints from surrounding neighborhoods. A common saying I was told years ago by a U.S. Department of Transportation official is to think of an airport as a small-sized city with all the same functions and services.
I was reminded of this saying when I reviewed the 2012 “Airport GIS Program Safety Benefits: A Change in Direction” presentation that explains the eALP or airport GIS initiative. It was made even clearer in detailed presentations by AECOM on the specific steps in developing an airport GIS for California, “An Introduction to Airports- GIS/electronic ALP (A-GIS/eALP)” and Arora Engineers presentation on how to implement an “FAA AGIS and Asset Management” program. While ESRI provides case studies of airports using GIS for Aviation.
There are several conferences dedicated to aviation GIS like The American Association of Airport Executives GIS (AAAE GIS) conference which focuses solely on the use of GIS at airports such as meeting FAA requirements, facilities management, safety, and marketing or the Aviation GIS Summit. The 3DVW: Spatial Blog of Jeff Thurstan’s has a good article on the “3rd Aviation GIS Summit 2013 – Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam” in relation to GIS, 3D planning, and airports.
If you are interested in an aviation GIS career or want to know the requirements for an aviation GIS Analyst there sites dedicated to aviation jobs. On Airline Job Finder, there were many GIS analyst jobs working for GIS offices or teams of aviation GIS analysts. The American Association of Airport Executives has a list of positions open.