3rd Aviation GIS Summit 2013 – Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam

Last week the 3rd Annual European Aviation GIS Summit was held at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. Attending the event were many European airport managers and aviation operators with interests involving IT and geographic information systems (GIS).

Kees Jans, CIO & General Manager ICT
Kees Jans, CIO & General Manager ICT – Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Ian Koeppel, Transportation and Business Development Manager for Esri Europe  opened the event and welcomed guests. He pointed out that the event is designed to bring together airport managers and operators for the purposes of exchanging ideas, sharing information and to provide a forum for them to discuss unique transport issues surrounding aviation.

Kees Jans, CIO & General Manager ICT at Schiphol Airport then presented information about the airport. The sheer magnitude of operations at the Schiphol Airport was presented. “We are interested in creating business value using GIS,” he said. Jans said it is an ‘AirPort City’, which is appropriate given that it contains many services and operations – all tied to the IT systems within the Schiphol Group who are responsible for operations.

Schiphol Airport at a glance:

  • 51 million passengers per year
  • 393,000 movements yearly
  • 60,000 people work at the airport
  • 3rd in freight volume for Europe
  • 313 destinations
  • 210 in the IT department
  • own telecom company
  • 2300 flight displays in airport
  • 50,000 sensors in airport
  • 60 flight connections
  • 2200 workstations

The Schiphol Group not only operates this airport, but airports in the Netherlands, JFK in New York, airports Paris, Arlanda Stockholm, Goteburg Airport, Aruba Airport and Rio de Janeiro (50%). Main areas of operations for the airport include aviation, alliances and participation, real estate and consumer services.

Schiphol Group Offices - Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Schiphol Group Offices – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Jans pinpointed excellence in services and highly efficient IT operations as the key ambition of the Schiphol Group. This became clear as I listened to many presenters and talked with some of the personnel in the airport. There is a strong culture of ‘customer-service’ and ‘operations-service’ that permeates the organization, and clearly has the Schiphol Group aiming to be the best. Barriers between technologies and conceptual areas appear to have been diminished, and a strong sense of embedding GIS into the IT, without boundaries, is present. An effective team is operating here.

The net result is a depth of expertise, capability, knowledge and the ability to provide highly integrated and cross-functional services for both land and air operations.

This group has also maintained established IT architecture and design of it’s IT systems to a high level. It can deliver what is plans and GIS related data sources and serving operate with high performance. “We have been doing this a long time (2010-2012), and it has gotten easier over time as we have learned lessons and adapted,” Jans said. The initial phases involved generic monitoring, redesign of the passenger program, new self serve systems and airport bus services.¬†The next phase (2013-2015) will see the development of standardized Web Services at the sites.

Nico Wasserman, Asset Management and Manger of of Airport Geographic Information then spoke in more detail about operations. “Our goal is to have a viewer for each employee,” he said. “All assets of the airport should be viewable.”

He provided an overview of some of the major operations including GIS2CAD, FME transformation, editing in GIS and design in CAD. Themes included climate data, sprinkler data, electric facilities, communication facilities, emergency and response, signals, SCADA and signage as well as work coordination systems.

“We focus on IT principles with GIS systems,” Wasserman said. “We want to create business value with GIS.” He did indicate that earliest problems surrounded data format issues, but most of these are now well managed and easily resolved.

Esri CityEngine is now being integrated into the Schiphol Airport 3D system and models for the fire brigade have begun. “We are using the Esri GeoEvent Server with a view to track indoors,” he said.

“We#re looking for a TomTom-like solution he mentioned. Suggesting that users would be able (in future) to have a similar operating type device for moving through the airport. Such a delivered service is now in planning stages and being developed. Both Esri 3D Analyst and Esri Network Analyst are being used for 3D processing and tracking. Delivery is through ArcGIS Online technology and a challenge of 2D-3D conversion is present. “Our group is also exploring the use of Autodesk’s Revit software to SGIS for use.

More to follow…..