Digital Aeronautical Charts
April 22, 2012 8:29 PM   Subscribe

I don't really know how to interpret this, but it's beautiful enough that I don't care.
posted by aubilenon at 8:32 PM on April 22, 2012

They go on FOREVER!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:33 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

I see it has been 7 years since I linked to this poem, so: Ode to the Air Traffic Controller.
posted by gwint at 8:42 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Digital Aeronautical Charts versus Patent Trolls (more) (more)
Digital Aeronautical Charts versus FAA fees (more from yesterday)
posted by tss at 8:48 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

whoops, second "more" link was meant to go here:
posted by tss at 8:50 PM on April 22, 2012

Looking around i found this sad end to the RunwayFinder debacle. Fucking patent trolls leveraging the legal system against a one man operation.. all over smooth scroling maps. What's next, USPTO granting a patent on function pi()?
posted by crapmatic at 12:52 AM on April 23, 2012

See how it all stops in Canada? That's where private air navigation starts.
posted by scruss at 4:16 AM on April 23, 2012

posted by pointystick at 5:16 AM on April 23, 2012

Well, fat load of good this is if I can't use wi-fi on the plane!
posted by bicyclefish at 6:09 AM on April 23, 2012 [1 favorite] has got some of the Canadian charts for free (registration required) - at least the approach procedures and aerodrome charts. I hope to fly up to CYTZ Toronto City airport this summer, which is close enough to be on the US sectional and low IFR charts.

Digital charts are fantastic. When I flew across this US last summer, having them on an iPad instead of paper (downloaded in advance with the Foreflight app) saved a bunch of weight and enough money to go a long way towards paying for the iPad.
posted by exogenous at 6:10 AM on April 23, 2012

VFRMap is great. For a bit of context; those are the FAA (Aeronav)'s digital raster aviation charts, reprojected and stitched together in a Google Maps-like interface. They're really beautiful maps and VFRMap does a good job on presentation. There's some interesting overlay and popup data on the map too, see the VFRMap blog. The way the site overlays the A/FD pages is particularly clever.

If you just want to see more funky maps, be sure to select the Low IFR layer too. Those are great schematic maps for when you're flying in the clouds and can't see a damn thing.

tss, thanks for an update on the Aeronav chart licensing mess. Long story short the online maps are currently provided for by free, having been paid for by US tax dollars. The FAA division Aeronav has decided they need to charge for the maps somehow, to make a lousy $5 million / year. What's followed is a total debacle of DRM proposals, Aeronav trying to create a copyright where none exists, and a complete misunderstanding of the market and what price it might bear. If Aeronav succeeds in starting to charge for these charts sites like VFRMap will probably just shut down.
posted by Nelson at 7:06 AM on April 23, 2012

For nautical charts, NOAA has some very nice resources including an online chart-viewer, free digital scans of printed charts (including specially formatted print-at-home versions) and even free electronic navigation charts chock full of GIS data.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 2:05 PM on April 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

One drawback with seamless stitching is that the margins of the charts -- which have a lot of information, including the legend -- are not available. For that, see (Skyvector also allows you to draw a route.)

Of course if Aeronav does manage to implement its damn fool ideas of charging for access to the digital maps, lack of copyright (by statute) means only one person has to pay them.
posted by phliar at 4:41 PM on April 23, 2012

Oh but that's the rich part, phliar. AeroNav's big idea is to stop distributing digital charts entirely except to designated partners. How do you get to be a partner? Sign an agreement saying you'll keep the charts they give you VERY SECRET, and use technical measures to prevent them from being copied, and agree to go after anyone who makes a copy of the AeroNav chart out of your application. Basically they're trying to create copyright where none exists, by forcing DRM-like terms on anyone who uses their charts. It's absolutely ridiculous and pretty brazen for a US government organization.

If they do manage to pull this off, one solution is to scan their paper charts. Which clearly improves aviation safety, forcing pilots to go to out of date poorly scanned copies of charts.
posted by Nelson at 4:51 PM on April 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

The only remaining advantage paper charts have over digital is that they make great wrapping paper when the expire.
posted by meinvt at 7:32 PM on April 23, 2012

« Older How to blow up a dead animal   |   You must've heard of a few Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments