Managing Data from Avian Radar Systems

Avian radar systems have been deployed to several airports in a performance assessment program developed by the University of Illinois Center of Excellence for Airport Technology Airport Safety Management Program (CEAT) for the Federal Aviation Administration Research and Development Branch, AJP63. As part of the CEAT Performance/Capability Assessment Program for Avian Radar Systems at Civil Airports, avian radar deployment began in 2006 with the acquisition of radar units and completion of initial calibration testing and licensing. The deployments were intended to assess this new technology at civil airports, exploring a wide range of technical and operational issues, including issues of data and data management. Data generated by avian radar can support airport safety management systems by improving the understanding of the movements and the timing of movements of birds on and around an airport. Even when avian radar cannot be monitored in real-time, the analysis of archived data can support directed management efforts to reduce or eliminate bird hazards through such applications as evaluating avian risks on or around the airport or predicting hazardous events at specific locations. Thus, the ability to review such archived data is essential to the successful use of avian radar as a tool for improved airport safety. However, the magnitude of data produced by the radar can create an obstacle to achieving this goal. Under normal operation, a single radar will produce approximately 150 gigabytes (GB) of processed data a year, consisting of plots-and-tracks files that support a range of post-processing options. In addition, records of raw radar data, which provide maximum opportunity for post-collection analysis, can require many GB of data storage in a very short time. After the initial deployment of an avian radar system at the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Oak Harbor, WA (NASWI) and a second system at the Seattle Tacoma International Airport (SEA), radar data was generated, and data analysis and management became a major and continuing effort in the performance assessment program. Although the basic data products of avian radars are well understood, the format and complexity of the data stream and the methods for management of high-frequency and long-term data were not well-defined for this technology and for application in an airport environment. Beginning with the acquisition of the first radar units, data issues were explored by CEAT and procedures were developed to acquire, process, analyze, and interpret radar data. Based on this experience, CEAT developed a comprehensive data management system that has evolved from on-site recording of radar data to a networked system that automatically processes and displays data, including a real-time display of radar detections. This paper will review the general characteristics of radar data generation with particular focus on plots-and-tracks information used in post-processing. Post-processing will be reviewed, illustrating the information products developed by CEAT.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; Photos;
  • Pagination: 12p
  • Monograph Title: 2010 FAA Worldwide Airport Technology Transfer Conference: Next Generation of Airport Technology

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01608399
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, ATRI, USDOT
  • Created Date: Aug 15 2016 3:57PM