Cesium used by Kansas DOT Aviation Portal

So I kind of stumbled onto this via a completely unrelated angle. I’m a civilian (general aviation) pilot in the US and through that community I heard about the state of Kansas releasing a new version of their Aviation Portal. Heard some wild things through those channels about what you can do with it, and the 3D aspects of the interface, so I had to check it out.

Turns out, it’s using CesiumJS, and not just the Viewer. This thing is LOADED with a bunch of whiz-bang useful tools and widgets for folks trying to assess whether planned man-made structures would interfere with local airspace, or approaches to runways, etc… It also does a pretty sweet job of letting someone dive through all the geospatial data commonly associated with airports and aircraft.

Links below (apologies if it looks like a click-farm):

http://ksaviationportal.ksdot.org/aviationportal/cesium.html

(the actual portal. Free to all. You might have to pass a browser-check screen and accept the terms of use)

Since I’m obviously kind of jazzed about this, I did some more digging to see who’s been working this thing. I found a few articles here and there:

http://www.kwch.com/news/local-news/kdot-unveils-aviation-tool-at-kstate-salina/32306580

(news article & video snippet announcing the release April 10th 2015. Warning: FLASH based video and an annoying advert. I LOVE the little red windmill model in the video. Reminds me of work I did long ago with Wind Farms and Radars and I’d wished I had something like this)

http://www.burnsmcdblog.com/2015/04/17/kansas-aviation-portal-taking-aviation-data-to-new-heights/

(the guys who seem to have done most of the work on this little gem. My congratulations to a job well done guys !)

http://www.kckansan.com/2015/04/kansas-aviation-portal-unveiled-at-k.html

(News reprint of the official press release, found here: (PDF) http://www.ksdot.org/Assets/wwwksdotorg/Headquarters/PDF_Files/pressrelease2015/PortalApril1015.pdf )

I couldn’t help but notice that they called it “Google Earth” technology which was a little annoying, particularly in an “official” release, but oh well. We still call plastic throwing disks “Frisbees” even if they’re not that brand. I know it’s CesiumJS and now you do to :wink:

All in all, after playing with it for a while, I gotta say that a lot of thought went into this interface. From a pilot (and aviation enthusiast) perspective, this “speaks” to me and lets me focus on the things I need to do and find. It also happened to let me more easily explain what “airspace” and “victor airways” are to my 8 year old nephew and he doesn’t believe in 2D-only pictures, so right there it’s worth it’s price in gold :wink:

I just wish the other states of the union would join in and supplement the work done with data for their own states. We still do things the “old fashioned” way here in Alabama and Huntsville is supposed to be on the “cutting edge” of technology. :wink:

Congrats to both KSDOT and the Burns & McDonnell folks. Job well done.

now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna fire up the Chrome debugger and poke around with some of the source code…

Cheers,

Frank

{full disclosure: I work for AGI, but not as part of the official Cesium team. I’m just a BIG fan of their work.}

Wow, this thing is packed with neat features. Dropping realistic models (drops on ellipsoid or terrain, which ever is active), drawing walls and extruded polygons (though these could use edges or shading to make out their shape.) Measuring distances between 2 points. Showfrustums in the Cesium inspector. Download screenshot. Map distance legend. Pointer lon/lat indicator. Streetview window. Compass. Very cool!

It could use a vertical measure tool which would be useful in determining the heights of the various airspace volumes. Otherwise display the altitudes on the top edges of the volumes or display it on the infobox when clicked on.

Those IFR maps are spot on, if you zoom way into one of the vortac graphics then turn off the IFR map to see the satellite imagery you can see the actual vortac tower!

The IFR and sectional and weather maps are actually nationwide. Perhaps those map links could be built into Cesium’s layer picker, alongside OpenStreetMaps and MapQuest? Some of these maps are jam packed with information, having them as vector maps showing just the info you want sure would be beneficial.

What tool does the screenshot and print to pdf?