ATMOSPHERE Collaborative Network: An Aeronautical GMES Service

Jean-Marc Gaubert

The project is to develop an airborne collaborative network for real-time exchange of atmospheric conditions. Complementing space and ground observation systems, the airborne network will significantly contribute to Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) objectives. It will provide a unique observation capability for local conditions in the atmosphere, including wind, temperature, humidity, and also pilot’s reports on weather hazards. On the ground, the data will be distributed to meteorological agencies, airlines, airports, and scientific research agencies. Improved weather forecasting and aviation-specific products will become feasible. The data will also be used for “now-cast” applications, such as noise reduction at airports. Furthermore the collaborative exchange of data between aircraft is an efficient means to improve flight safety.

From a technical standpoint, the project is based on the concept of Galileo-localised “atmosphere objects” developed by meteorological agencies. Graphical information such as weather radar images can be converted into synthetic objects with a significant bandwidth gain, and information can be exchanged in real time over low-rate satellite communication systems. The miniaturisation of satellite technology has facilitated the development of an autonomous METBOX that can be deployed cost-effectively in general aviation. From the business side, the service is based on a collaborative network model. This win-win scheme will bring direct added value to all stakeholders.

The airborne network will be deployed in the general aviation sector, with a focus on business aircraft and helicopters (100,000 platforms in Europe). On the ground, all flows of business will be managed through the e-AMDAR system. The collected airborne data will be used primarily by meteorological agencies to complement their space and ground observation systems. The scientific community will also use the data for environmental monitoring.

The users and stakeholders will have several benefits, ranging from the economical – reflected in more efficient operations – and an enhanced ability to add value, such as with new weather forecasting products, to safety benefits including real-time weather hazard avoidance in flight and additional advantages on the ground thanks to better anticipation of adverse weather. Furthermore, the service will protect the environmental by reducing emissions, mitigating noise at airports, and helping prevent persistent contrails.


Jean-Marc Gaubert
ATMOSPHERE, Systèmes et Services
Pépinière d’ entreprises du Grand Toulouse
42, avenue du général de Croutte
31100 Toulouse
phone: +33 (0) 56 77 33 863