Air Traffic Controller Discussion With a Global Perspective
By Andrew Doubleday 844751
#399270 Given the responses from the "Post Your Scope" thread within this forum, it appears that several of you are interested in the capabilities of ZMP's recently revamped IDS. With more and more facilities moving in the direction of having such tools as this available, I am posting this reference guide to our IDS implementation with permission of the ZMP staff.

Each controller within the facility is registered via CID and a user defined password to enter the system via the main website. From that logon screen, you also select which TRACON you wish to open the IDS for (in this example, M98 - Minneapolis TRACON).

The first page displayed on the IDS is the Status Information Area (SIA for short) as seen below. The towered airfields within the TRACON are displayed with the current weather report and recommended runway usage dependent on those conditions. You would also see the current ATIS letter if an active ATIS were set for those airfields.
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Next, lets add an ATIS for Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport (MSP). Above the red Emergency tab on IDS, you'll note a small button that says "Add/Modify ATIS". I've clicked that and on the CRD (Command Reference Display) on the lower right of the SIA page, you'll note drop down menus have now appears to enter in the details for cutting the ATIS. So I've set this for the current runway configuration that would be most suitable for the present weather conditions at the field, choose an ATIS code, and click "Send ATIS."
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The CRD then changes to acknowledge the request for a new ATIS to the host and within a few seconds updates on the SIA airport area. Everyone connected to the IDS would also receive the adjustments. The ATIS will also flash in a light orange color when an update occurs requiring system ackowledgement (in which you would generally state over your frequency, "Attention all aircraft, information DELTA now current at Minneapolis International, altimeter now 3037" or something to that tune.
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Next we will submit a PIREP into the system for icing by clicking the button "Add PIREP" located above the SIA and Communications tab on the IDS. Notice that the CRD now changes to show the options for submitting a PIREP into the system. This also serves a nice guide for what information to obtain from the pilot in case you leave something out (such as forgetting to obtain a location or outside air temperature). I've filled this example out for an A320 departing MSP reporting continuous light rime during descent into MSP.
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Once the PIREP is submitted to the system, the CRD once again acknowledges the request to the host and shortly thereafter displayed the PIREP under the PIREPs area of the SIA.
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Other things to note from the SIA page (you'll now note the ATIS is no longer displayed here as I went back and took this shot later) are the TMU (Traffic Management Unit) section in which flow control information is displayed based upon arrival needs. A CIC (Controller-In-Charge) has access to the appropriate tabs in the IDS to adjust those as appropriate during events. Anything displayed in green is basically standard flow control per SOP, yellow would be added MIT requirements, and anything in red would be holding. To the right of the TMU window, the CRD will default to display RVR information for MSP (Runway Visibility Range). The other areas (Hot Board and Active Area Information) will display any special activities in use and critical information that needs to be quickly disseminated to controllers. On the very bottom left of the page (this is also displayed on every page), you'll note the transponder allocator system (we assigned beacon codes to aircraft based on destination and type). An aircraft heading to O'Hare would be leaving ZMP's sector and would therefore be assigned a beacon code beginning in the 24XX range. I've clicked "OUTB" on the allocator and the system has spit out a 2420 code to be assigned next in sequence. This system also helps to alleviate duplicate beacon code issues (ZMP runs on realistic datatag mode settings in VRC) within the facility and makes wider use of the approved code ranges assigned to the facility through VATUSA. Next to the transponder allocator is the wind and altimeter displayed for the primary airport within this sector (in this case MSP) which is also displayed on all pages for quick reference when needed).
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What if I need to reference a radar to give weather information to a pilot looking to avoid these areas of icing? No problem! I've now clicked the "WXR" button next to Add PIREP to view a live radar shot.
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The next tab on IDS is "Communications" which shows you the sector IDS, frequencies, and names of positions within ZMP for reference when needed for coordination or handoffs.
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The next tab is "Relief" which contains the relief briefing checklists to follow while preparing to replace a controller on a position or absorb a sector, etc.
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There is also a runway change checklist when turning the boat (which we accomplished during FNO due to a wind shift early on from 12s-a-pair to 30s-a-pair).
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The next tab is the Maps/Charts page which links us to night charts (easier on the eyes with the black background in a dark room) for all airports within M98.
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Below I've pulled up the Converging ILS runway 35 approach at MSP for reference.
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The next tab is Reference in which a number of charts, diagrams, and SOPs can be pulled up. This is one of the coolest functions of the IDS, having all of the information you need to work your sector centralized in one system.
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Below I have pulled up the M98 TRACON SOP.
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Now I have pulled up the Intersection Departure Distances Chart at MSP.
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The Emergency tab on the far left in dark red is still in the works, but will allow a controller to obtain pertinent information on the nature of the emergency to be displayed on the SIA page (once completed). The Weather tab to the right of the SIA tab will contain more detailed weather information/charts for reference (once completed). The TMU and Supervisory/CIC tabs to the right of the Reference tab are used to amend the appropriate SIA areas by management when needed.

Outside of the above information, this sums up the IDS guide for ZMP and hopefully gives everyone a clearer picture of how it works. Credit goes to Dhruv Kalra and Logan Gloss-Ivory of ZMP for developing and coding the system. They will share this information after a few minor adjustments are made to our present system.

This is an extremely effective real-time tool to be applies towards use during major events. Coupled with a detailed event briefing and a solid crew it made for an amazing experience working FNO this past Friday night!


Questions/comments certainly welcome.
Last edited by Andrew Doubleday 844751 on Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
By Dhruv Kalra 878508
#406524 We're working on sorting out a few last bugs inherent in the system. After those are resolved, other facilities will be invited to adapt the system for their own use.

Stay tuned for updates.
By Romano Lara 1018198
#406527
Dhruv Kalra 878508 wrote:We're working on sorting out a few last bugs inherent in the system. After those are resolved, other facilities will be invited to adapt the system for their own use.

Stay tuned for updates.


Excited to see this!! :D
By Andrew Doubleday 844751
#420892 Just talked to my roommate, Logan Gloss (he actually did the coding for this) and he says not much is left to be done. There is a slight bug with the time on the PIREPs that needs fixing (the 24 hour format is not working correctly and it's keeping PIREP data in there for months ago, which should clear out automatically) and the Emergency tab as well as some weather stuff needs to be included. Outside of that, whenever he gets around to fixing that up it will be 100% ready for release.

We still use it religiously here while we control and it makes a big difference in terms of coordination and standardization of procedures while we work together on position.

Logan has also informed me that he was approached by Gary Millsaps in regards to this program back in January/February time frame and someone from VATUSA was supposed to get back to him on division-wide implementation and nobody ever got back to him about it so I'm not certain on what VATUSA's stance is on the program and use at other facilities, but Logan is more than willing to share the program with other ARTCCs for implementation when available for release (hopefully fairly soon, we're aiming to have it fully ready by Northern Migration the end of this month).


Regards,

AJ
By Matthew Ramina 1182196
#420898 Sounds great, can't wait. It would be cool if VATUSA could use it widespread, but what are you gonna do. :)

I couldn't help but going to the website that was in the screenshots, and in the TCA list were some other ARTCCs. Are these the ones that the ids is going to be released to?

Thanks