Graphical TFRs in Canada

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cpknight
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Graphical TFRs in Canada

#1 Post by cpknight » Thu Aug 24, 2017 2:35 pm

[I posted this on the BC and AB GA Facebook groups, and I thought I'd try to elicit some feedback here as well...]

Because plotting NOTAMs can be a bit of a pain, and because there doesn't seem to be a Canadian equivalent to the FAA's "Graphic TFR" service (http://tfr.faa.gov/tfr_map_ims/html/), I asked our internal intelligence team to put together a "Graphical TFR" report product on a "testing"/"beta" basis. I'd really appreciate feedback from the aviation community as to whether this is something worthwhile, and what improvements we could make to the product if we decided to maintain and disseminate it on a regular basis. Thanks!

Graphical TFR link: https://issuu.com/knightllp/stacks/5566 ... bbc684a8f5

(I should emphasize that this is a "beta" "test" product that my team has put together on a test basis, and I've essentially stolen their time away from other stuff, so the product isn't really a "ready for prime time" sort of thing yet ... but I can see us maintaining, expanding and improving it if there is demand).

Any feedback is greatly appreciated.
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Re: Graphical TFRs in Canada

#2 Post by cpknight » Thu Aug 24, 2017 2:36 pm

I've received some very helpful feedback so far, and had some comments about those (in no particular order):

- we're going to try and find a better "base" map image to use on this, and put a higher-resolution version in the PDF for better zooming, etc.

- we like the idea of downloadable KML files - since that's what we use to assemble the product, it seems logical to have a version that can be downloaded and put into ForeFlight, etc. - ideally I'd like to see an automatic push so that when you use the "TFR" layer in ForeFlight (or similar) the information is already there (the new polygon-download feature in ForeFlight is pretty cumbersome).

- our team is set-up to disseminate products on fixed intervals (one-time, daily, weekly, monthly, etc.), but ideally this information would be available as a real-time product that is updated whenever a new NOTAM is pushed out.

- the FAA's graphic TFR site (despite some problems with out of date or incomplete plotting) has proven to be a very helpful and popular product in the US, so it seems like we should be taking a page from that success and trying it here.

- for now my team is going to try and push these out as daily PDFs. Which isn't ideal. Pushing the plots to platforms like ForeFlight, Garmin, SkyVector, etc. would be ideal, I think, but I'll have to figure how to make that happen. Hopefully we can figure out a way to have a web-based map interface (zoomable, etc.) with data for all of Canada, as well. I have to be careful about getting too ambitious, however, as our intelligence team does have other work to push out during the day, too, though...
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Re: Graphical TFRs in Canada

#3 Post by 7ECA » Thu Aug 24, 2017 3:36 pm

How about a website based system, similar to what Zulu for Pilots has running? Just a thought...
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Re: Graphical TFRs in Canada

#4 Post by cpknight » Fri Aug 25, 2017 6:54 am

7ECA wrote:How about a website based system, similar to what Zulu for Pilots has running? Just a thought...
Absolutely! That's a great idea - we're getting some positive feedback on this, so we're looking at different ways to make this possible. A real-time web-based map (zoomable, selectable layers, etc.) is probably the "gold standard" that we'd be aiming for. Thanks for the feedback!
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Re: Graphical TFRs in Canada

#5 Post by AirFrame » Fri Aug 25, 2017 6:56 am

Why isn't NavCanada providing the NOTAMs as an XML feed that can be parsed into various uses like this? Why do we have to manually create XML files and diligently keep them updated in order to conveniently ensure our safety, when the data surely is stored in a database at NavCanada and could be made available through an API? Why is NavCanada allowed to stay stuck in the 1970's when it comes to disseminating safety information?
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Re: Graphical TFRs in Canada

#6 Post by 7ECA » Fri Aug 25, 2017 2:11 pm

AirFrame, it's all about the money...

Sort of like how ForeFlight subscriptions are way more expensive for Canadian users than for das Yanquis.
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Re: Graphical TFRs in Canada

#7 Post by cpknight » Fri Aug 25, 2017 2:27 pm

AirFrame wrote:Why isn't NavCanada providing the NOTAMs as an XML feed that can be parsed into various uses like this? Why do we have to manually create XML files and diligently keep them updated in order to conveniently ensure our safety, when the data surely is stored in a database at NavCanada and could be made available through an API? Why is NavCanada allowed to stay stuck in the 1970's when it comes to disseminating safety information?
Agree 100%. I'm hoping that part of this process that I'm undertaking in building this "graphical TFR" thing will help me to understand and work with Nav Canada on an initiative that will enhance GA safety in Canada. Part of the issue is - I think - that the ATC privatization mandate essentially "froze" the non-commercial / public-good services offered by Nav Canada as of the date of privatization. Perhaps that's why the https://flightplanning.navcanada.ca AWWS page is trapped in the 1990's and the services available there are maintained but not really enhanced too much.

Initiatives like the FAA's "Graphic TFR" website (http://tfr.faa.gov/tfr_map_ims/html/) and the NOAA's excellent new Aviation Weather website (https://www.aviationweather.gov) have more recently emerged south of the border, but I wonder if Nav Canada will feel inclined to provide similarly updated services without a clear commercial incentive to do so. On the other hand, Nav Canada has introduced some pretty nifty technologies (such as the live RVR product and the ASEP stuff) which GA benefits from freely, so I think there is some precedent for developments. I don't really have any skin in the "privatization vs. public resource" game when it comes to ATC and I think the general consensus is that Nav Canada has been nothing if not good for aviation in Canada. So I'm *hoping* that my pursuing this graphical TFR-in-Canada thing will help out a bit.

We'll see! Many thanks for any feedback!
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Re: Graphical TFRs in Canada

#8 Post by cpknight » Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:45 pm

Just a quick update - we've received a lot of excellent feedback on this product, and we are maintaining it on a daily basis and looking to roll out many improvements in the days/weeks ahead. In the meantime, here is a stable URL for the BC/AB report, which will always give you the latest version: https://view.publitas.com/knightllp/dai ... bc-and-ab/
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