NGA bans flight data from public view

Agency cites intellectual property rights as reason for policy shift

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) will remove most of its aeronautical data and publications from public view in the next two years.

That means public mapmakers and librarians will no longer have access to many of the most detailed aeronautical charts and data of the world. But they can still get maps with a scale of 1-to-250,000 to 1-to-5 million because they are less detailed.

NGA said it took this action primarily because of the growing number of international source providers claiming intellectual property rights. Mapmakers and librarians said Australia, which has the best maps for Indonesia — an important battleground in the war on terrorism — insisted that NGA no longer publish for public access the aeronautical charts and data Australia produces, pays for and shares with the agency.

"The removal of this aeronautical data from general public access will assure the continued availability of information vital to national security," said James Clapper, NGA director and a retired Air Force three-star general, in a statement.

NGA said the decision does not affect government agencies and authorized government contractors, and aviators can still get charts and data from the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA said its nautical data and publications will continue to be publicly available.

NGA will remove the worldwide Digital Aeronautical Flight Information File (DAFIF) that comes in a CD-ROM format from public sale in January 2006 and stop distributing it via the Internet in October 2006. The agency will also stop selling versions of the Flight Information Publications that cover airspace outside the United States in October 2006 and remove other versions that contain information about U.S. airspace in October 2007.

NGA said it believes it has reached a compromise with librarians and mapmakers by making available some of its aeronautical charts and data, including two maps that librarians use for research and education. The agency also gave them 22 months to adjust to the change and took six months to listen and respond to their comments, said Jim Mohan, an NGA spokesman. However, many mapmakers and librarians are still critical of the decision.

"A very bad precedent has been set whereby the introduction of any copyright-protected material renders a massive public-domain database off-limits to the public," said Kent Lee, president and chief executive officer of East View Cartographic.

"NGA could have offered a redacted version of the databases and stripped DAFIF of its Australian-supplied data so they could be kept public and available," said Patrice McDermott, deputy director of government relations at the American Library Association.

Matt Francis, a spokesman for the Australian Embassy in the United States, said Airservices Australia, a government-owned organization, operates as a corporation and sells charts and data to worldwide customers.

He said Airservices Australia published the changes to its aeronautical data licensing arrangements, which started in September 2003.

"The corporation is concerned that in the absence of a licensing system, commercial redistributors who sell the data to airlines and other customers are not bound by controls intended to ensure the data remains accurate as those customers use it," according to a press release issued by Airservices Australia in July 2003.

The NGA hit list

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency will eliminate many versions of the Digital Aeronautical Flight Information File (DAFIF) and the Flight Information Publications (Flip) from public access in the next two years. DAFIF contains in-depth information about runways, airfields, airspace, navigation aids and military training routes worldwide, and Flip features detailed diagrams of global airports. Here is the timetable for removing information.

  • January 2006: DAFIF CD-ROMs.
  • October 2006: DAFIF online version, Flip versions covering airspace outside the United States.
  • October 2007: Flip versions covering airspace inside the United States.

— Frank Tiboni

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.