Flight Planning in the Cloud
- Friday, 01 July 2011
This new interface will enable Principal Investigators (PIs), as well as UAVSAR (Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar) members to do their own flight planning and time estimation without having to request flight lines through the science coordinator. It uses an all-in-one Google Maps interface, a JPL hosted database, and PI flight requirements to design an airborne flight plan. The application will enable users to see their own flight plan being constructed interactively through a map interface, and then the flight planning software will generate all the files necessary for the flight. Afterward, the UAVSAR team can then complete the flight request, including calendaring and supplying requisite flight request files in the expected format for processing by NASA’s airborne science program.
Some of the main features of the interface include drawing flight lines on the map, nudging them, adding them to the current flight plan, and reordering them. The user can also search and select takeoff, landing, and intermediate airports. As the flight plan is constructed, all of its components are constantly being saved to the database, and the estimated flight times are updated. Another feature is the ability to import flight lines from previously saved flight plans.
One of the main motivations was to make this Web application as simple and intuitive as possible, while also being dynamic and robust. This Web application can easily be extended to support other airborne instruments.