Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) announced that it has received the state of Pennsylvania’s Special Achievement in GIS award, which is given by the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI). The award was presented to the Airport and to Sam Mason, the Airport’s GIS Program manager, at a special ceremony at the ESRI International User Conference in San Diego on July 10. The Airport was the Pennsylvania recipient of this award, which is given to a site selected from all agencies using ESRI software for GIS development. More than 12,000 attendees are expected to attend the 2003 annual ESRI International user conference. PHL was selected for its design and integration of a field computer system, which uses GIS software and Differential Global Positioning Systems to collect and analyze data in real-time from a moving vehicle during severe weather emergencies and for daily operational analysis and asset management. “In this age of ever-advancing technology, the Airport is always looking for ways to use the latest technological enhancements to improve the infrastructure and operations,” said Charles J. Isdell, the City’s Director of Aviation.Since 1996, the Airport has been using GIS and GPS. The Airport’s GIS Services Unit has implemented a mobile computing system that utilizes GIS software to manage operations, assets and projects in a real-time moving map environment. The first two applications for this system were airfield navigation sign asset management and winter storm operations management. The field computer determines highly accurate event locations enabled by inputs from a GPS. For instance, snow piling and melting operations can occur only in tightly controlled locations so as not to block aircraft parking gates or impede the movement of aircraft on taxiways and aprons. GIS is also being used to track above and underground storage tank facilities for better monitoring and to improve the Airport’s ability to mitigate spills and respond to environmental emergencies.
The Airport is participating with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Airport Modeling Advisory Team to develop national standards for GIS integration and for the new “electronic” FAA Airport Layout Plan. Since 1996, the Airport has been a participant in the Mayor’s Office for Information Systems GIS User Group. Participation in this group and regional organizations allows Airport management and consultant teams to address many issues that impact the community such as noise abatement and roadway traffic management. Clearly, the implementation of this technology is an efficient way to improve situational awareness at the Airport and enable the Airport to be a good neighbor to the surrounding community, said Isdell.