GRADE® - Graphical Airspace Design Environment

New sector design using radar data and GRADE

Advanced Air Traffic Visualization Tool

Developed by ATAC, GRADE® - Graphical Airspace Design Environment - is a state-of-the-art, 4-dimensional computer tool for displaying, analyzing, designing, and evaluating air traffic operations. GRADE includes a powerful set of functional modules housed within an easy-to-use, integrated, graphical user interface (GUI).

A GRADE user has:
  • Easy, flexible access to data
  • Set of functional tools for visual and quantitative analysis of data
  • Ability to design data models of current or proposed operations for use in simulations
  • Ability to replay radar data and animating simulation results in 2D or 3D
  • Airspace redesign capability
  • Performance measurement tools for actual or simulated air traffic operations


GRADE has undergone continuous development and enhancement for over a decade, and has proven to be a valuable tool in a wide range of applications, including:
  • Airport and airspace design
  • Visualization of complex air traffic operations
  • Flight path and profile analysis
  • Traffic flow and sector loading analysis
  • Obstruction analysis
  • Environmental impact assessment
  • Accident and incident investigation
  • Operational performance assessment
  • Presentation of existing and proposed air traffic operations to the public


GRADE is a powerful, flexible, multi-function tool for conducting aviation planning, analysis and research efforts. The foundation of GRADE is a database containing a set of data layers that may be displayed and utilized individually or in combination. The data layers that can be loaded to meet the needs of a specific application include:
  • En route and terminal radar tracking data (e.g., SAR, ARTS, ETMS)
  • Oceanic tracking data (DOTS)
  • Airspace boundaries and structures (e.g., Centers, TRACONs, sectors)
  • Military Special Use Airspace (e.g., MOAs, Alert Areas, Warning Areas)
  • Airport layouts and CAD drawings
  • Navigation aids and fixes
  • Standard aircraft departure and arrival procedures (e.g., SIDS and STARS)
  • Airways and route structures
  • TERPS surfaces
  • Terrain and obstructions
  • Political boundaries and land use maps
  • Street maps and census data
  • Noise contours
  • Controller video maps
  • Pilot and controller voice recordings
  • Real-time simulator and fast-time simulation results


GRADE provides the capability to conduct analyze, visualize and replay complex airspace operations. Examples of the benefits of GRADE include:
  • Reductions of up to 50% in airspace redesign time
  • Supported rapid safety response with quick turnaround provision of incident/accident information and playback
  • Improved flight movement and event understanding through the integration display of GIS data, weather, airspace boundaries and flight tracks to provide a complete analysis picture
  • Increased operational awareness as a result of the tight integration with the SkyView Reporting System which allows for rapid analytical drill-down capabilities
  • Improved, complex operational decision making resulting from powerful computational engine-based rapid, data-driven analysis

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