Free aeronautical data

Because of the imminent death of DAFIF data, it is my intention to create a web site where people can create and edit aeronautical data, and use the data that they and others have created in their personal computers, PDAs and web sites for flight planning, navigation, flight simulation, or other uses. This data would be free in both senses of the word, both free from cost, and covered by a Creative Commons or similar license allowing them to use it and distribute it free from legal encumbrances.

My first thoughts on the design would be that it would import and export data in an XML format, probably an extension of GPX or possibly another custom format. I’d like to make the editing as interactive as possible, so I’m currently learning AJAX (Asyncronous Javascript And Xml) programming, and possibly I’d like to leverage the Google Maps API.

I haven’t decided on the back-end language, only that it must run on a Free operating system like Linux or one of the BSDs, and use an Open Source web server like Apache or Tomcat because that’s what my stuff is currently hosted on. But if a bunch of you say you’ll do programming work on the site only if it runs on .NET, I’d still want to be involved in the project, but you’ll have to find a different web host.

I’d like to get an idea of how many people out there would be interested in

  1. Participating in the design and construction of such a site
  2. Using such a site to enter or edit waypoints
  3. Use such data in programs or sites that they have

If you’re interested in participating in such a role, please comment on this post describing which you’d like to do. If the first, describe what sort of programming you’re interested in doing. If the second, describe what sort of data you would expect to enter – just one or two local airports, a whole state/province/country, or what?

If I get any interest, I’ll probably create a mailing list or wiki for this. In the meantime, I’m putting posts on this topic in a separate category which you can read here or you can RSS subscribe to here.

5 thoughts on “Free aeronautical data”

  1. I’m all over helping with a Java Servlet / Tomcat based implementation. In fact, I had been thinking about doing something like this already myself; just haven’t had the time to start it. I’d also be interested generating a plug-in for fplan.

    On a data related note, there is a Canadian FSS guy who updates an Excel spreadsheet with the latest CFS data (every 56 days). That would be a good source for Canadian data.

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