Monday, April 6, 2009

A day at AERO 2009: About aviation and databases

To my excuse let me start this post stating that to a database guy everything looks like a database.

On Saturday I took my oldest son to AERO 2009, the biggest European expo for General Aviation that included an air show in the afternoons. We went there half on foot and half by shuttle bus, but many visitors actually flew there with their own planes and Friedrichshafen's airport area and airspace was crowded.

Both I (and to some degree my son) can be labeled "experienced passenger", nothing more. In the database world this would compare to "having used an ATM" (this is not Air Traffic Management) or "received database-generated report in mail". At the expo were many commercial and private pilots, aircraft mechanics, aerobatic pilots, some flight attendants, air traffic controlers, some government agencies, and many more. In my (our?) world this would compare to DBAs and sysadmins, performance specialist, maybe application users, your management, auditors, etc. Of course there was finance and insurance companies present (and possibly lawyers...).

From strolling around I learned how much software is now used even by private pilots. Simulation, flight planning, navigation, in-flight monitoring and control, the electronic fligh bag (EFB), air traffic control/management (ATC/ATM), and many more require special software. The electronic flight bag can even be a collection of XML data. Statistical data such as that from ATADS is nothing more than your typical database application. A very nice air traffic visualization is using XML, web serivces, Google Maps, MashUps, and a database.

Thus, even if you were only an IT guy, you would have gotten your share of information. I won't write about the special deal I could have gotten for a private jet, how the goodies are different from an IT expo, and why I am lucky my wife is not a wing walking lady (or here)...