System-wide Information Management (SWIM)

System-wide Information Management (SWIM)


SWIM consists of standards, infrastructure and governance enabling the management of ATM related information and its exchange between qualified parties via interoperable services.

Source: ICAO Doc 10039: Manual of SWIM Concept


The present-day flight planning provisions suffer from some important limitations regarding flight information sharing, advanced notification, inconsistent flight information, information security and the flexible use of information.

A net-centric and secure environment, based on a globally consistent and unambiguous set of information elements, is needed to overcome the existing deficiencies and achieve a 4D trajectory-based globally interoperable ATM system.

4D trajectory based ATM systems have a number of data-related requirements. These include, but are not limited to:

  • a secure architecture with trusted sharing of information system-wide;
  • early provision of intent data;
  • collaborative decision making support;
  • high automation support requiring machine readability and unambiguous definition of information items.

SWIM Principles

Both the SESAR and the NextGen efforts are aligned on key objectives with regard to the management of flight information:

  • Information must be shared securely on a system-wide basis;
  • Pertinent information will be available when and where it is required;
  • Information may be personalized, filtered, and accessed, as needed;
  • The system will include all tenets of cybersecurity to include confidentiality, integrity, availability and protection of data, networks and control systems, continuity of operations and secure interoperable communications;
  • Authentication for user access;
  • Initial quality of the information will be the responsibility of the originator; subsequent handling will not compromise its quality;
  • Information sharing can be adjusted to mitigate any proprietary concerns;
  • Information management will use globally harmonized information attributes.

SWIM Implementation Alternatives

Basically there are two ways to introduce SWIM and achieve its objectives:

  • Establish a dedicated centralized flight data processing system that is supposed to act as a server;
  • Connect individual flight data processing systems into a wide array network.

The latter approach seems more likely to be implemented as it makes use of existing systems and provides more reliability and robustness (a failure of a central server generally has a greater impact on a network than a failure of several elements in a peer-to-peer network).

Further Reading


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