St. Louis, Missourie, 29 September 2006: The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) will remove its Flight Information Publications (FLIP), the electronic Chart Updating Manual (eCHUM) and Digital Aeronautical Flight Information File (DAFIFTM) from public access on October 1, 2006.
NGA announced its proposed intention to remove aeronautical products from public access in the Federal Register on November 18, 2004. U.S. government agencies and government contractors, authorized access to the data, are not affected by this action.
NGA made the decision to remove aeronautical data due to an increased number of international source providers claiming intellectual property rights for source material. Many of these providers informed NGA of their intent to copyright the material. They claimed that NGA’s public release of their aeronautical data violated copyright restrictions and should be discontinued.
By removing national defense aeronautical data from open source access NGA seems to be seeking to accomplish two additional objectives. First, NGA will reduce the vulnerability of critical navigation data on the Internet. Second, it will limit/eliminate unfettered access to that data by organizations and individuals intent on causing harm.
With the accomplishment of this action NGA seems to be also aiming at protecting the sources and integrity of its data, honor its bilateral agreements restricting non-governmental use, avoid competition with commercial interests, and allow NGA to focus on its primary customers and mission, supporting the Department of Defense.
The first phase of the withdrawal began in January 2006 with the initial removal of DAFIF from public sale. Electronic distribution of DAFIF to the general public, on the Word Wide Web, will cease on October 1, 2006. On this date the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will also cease distribution of NGA Flight Information Publications except those products covering U.S. controlled airspace in the Caribbean and Pacific-Hawaii regions.
NGA paper map products, to a scale of 1:250,000 to 1:5,000,000 will continue to be made available to the public through FAA sales. In addition, for a period of one year (October 1, 2006- October 1, 2007), NGA will distribute a digital product covering U.S. airspace, called U.S. Flight Information File (USFIF) through the Web. The USFIF will cover the continental U.S., Hawaii, and U.S. Flight Information Regions(FIRs). Coverage will extend to the first waypoint across any international
boundary. All boundary-coincident Special Use Airspace (SUAS) will also be depicted.
As announced in the Federal Register on November 18, 2004 NGA originally intended to remove aeronautical products from public access on October 1, 2005. As a result of feedback from organizations and individuals, NGA decided to open public comment period (December 17, 2004 to June 30, 2005) on the proposed action. NGA announced its decision to proceed with the action in November 2005.
Additional information: With the proliferation of digital capabilities throughout the international aviation network, the preferred method of information exchange is shifting from paper-based to electronic dissemination. Numerous countries that heretofore relied on host-government agencies to compile and publish their aeronautical information have recently transferred that responsibility to commercial or quasi-governmental agencies.
Some of these foreign agencies are beginning to assert intellectual property rights to the aeronautical data within their territorial limits and are refusing to provide such aeronautical data to DoD so long as NGA makes it available to outside interests, whom these agencies view as possible competitors in the international marketplace.
NGA relies on foreign data obtained through bilateral geospatial information sharing agreements, and certain nations may impose restrictions on their data against release to third parties. Accordingly, there is a rational basis for limiting access to aeronautical products created for DoD use to DoD and governmental end users.
– About National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
NGA is a Department of Defense combat support agency and a member of the National Intelligence Community. Its mission is to provide timely, relevant and accurate geospatial intelligence in support of our national security. Geospatial intelligence is the exploitation and analysis of imagery and geospatial information to describe, assess, and visually depict physical features and geographically referenced activities on the Earth. Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, NGA has major facilities in the greater Washington, D.C., and St. Louis, Missouri, areas with NGA support teams worldwide.
To know more about NGA, its history, activities visit: http://www.nga.mil , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NIMA