Today, lack of global standardization through globally agreed semantic aviation models and common aviation schemas that address the needs of the overall aviation value chain hinders any data sharing effort. Over the last years, notable data standardization efforts have emerged in aviation, such as the Airport Collaborative Decision Making Manual (A-CDM), the Standard Schedules Information Manual (SSIM), the Aeronautical Information Exchange Model (AIXM) and the ACI Airport Community Recommended Information Services (ACRIS) and address particular data requirements from the viewpoint of airports or airlines. However, they are designed on such a different basis that make the choice of a specific standard to be adopted a new challenge for the aviation data value chain.

In ICARUS, a common aviation data model reconciling the different aviation data standards is considered as instrumental to ensure effective data integration both at data check-in time (from the data providers’ perspective) and at data query time (from the data consumers’ perspective). To this end, a data model has been meticulously “designed for change” with the purpose of efficiently managing its whole lifecycle and effectively anticipating its consistent evolution (e.g. how new concepts will be effectively incorporated, without disrupting the existing model, in a way that ensures backward compatibility) as it is unrealistic to consider that any data model, no matter how well designed, will be inclusive of all the aviation-related data from the whole aviation ecosystem from its early beginning and shall address all future data needs the aviation stakeholders may have.

The ICARUS data model lifecycle thus consists of different phases that include modelling, storage, reuse in mapping algorithms, and evolution as described in detail in D2.3 and in our previous post for data mapping. Prior to providing a brief glimpse on the ICARUS data model, the preparatory activities should be highlighted as they included two parallel streams: (a) the study of the ICARUS aviation ontology, based on the NASA ATM Ontology and considering the data collection activities from the ICARUS demonstrators and OAG, that were conducted in WP1 and documented in D1.3, (b) the analysis of a set of aviation data standards that were prioritized, namely: A-CDM, ACRIS, AIXM, and partly SSIM (through the OAG data as the full standard was not available at the whole consortium at the time the initial version of the ICARUS common aviation data model was prepared), as well as a generic purpose data standard like UN/CEFACT CCTS (Core Components Technical Specification).

At the moment, the ICARUS common aviation data model contains 14 core entities, namely: Aircraft, Airport, Baggage, Booking, Carrier, Crew, Flight, Flight Leg, Fuel, Location, Passenger, Product, Weather and Provenance Data, that collectively contain over 600 “single” properties (that increase to over 5.000 properties if all “nested” properties are considered). As depicted in the following extract, the core entities are described based on metadata like “definition”, “related_terms”, “standards”, “data_added”, “date_deprecated”, “version”, and “children” while their properties feature metadata such as “definition”, “type”, “related_terms”, “standards”, “data_added”, “date_deprecated”, “version”, and “facet” (to enforce non-encryption on certain, non-business critical properties that will act as filters to facilitate their acquisition, to identify the baseline measurement units, whether a property is sensitive or takes multiple values, etc.).

ICARUS Aviation Data Model-Small Extract

In the ICARUS platform, the data providers and the data consumers are able to navigate to the ICARUS Aviation Data Model, search at any moment for the concepts they are interested in and retrieve their definition, as depicted in the following figure. It needs to be noted that the mappings to the different standards are not visible as they are used under the hood in the Data Check-in workflow.

ICARUS Aviation Data Model in the ICARUS Platform


Blog post prepared by Suite5.


Cover photo by fabio on Unsplash