Visualization and Analysis of Spatial Data

Objectives & Background

Noblis’ transportation clients possess large amounts of time-variant, three-dimensional track data which can be difficult to understand and analyze. The objective of this Noblis Sponsored Research (NSR) project was to create a 4D visualization capability to better comprehend this data and provide supporting analysis. This capability was applied to a client problem, integrating geospatial data from various sources, including: radio frequency (RF) coverage, airspace volumes, airspace markers, aircraft trajectories and routes.


Our approach was to:

  • Leverage existing technology with the ability to ingest, normalize and combine various geospatial data types, both historical and streaming
  • Obtain customer feedback during the development, resulting in a rapid product lifecycle capable of incorporating new customer needs as they arose
  • Develop an analytic core to visually highlight areas of interest requiring further investigation
  • Use this same analytic core to produce detailed reports, helping customers to learn more about their areas of interest


This NSR produced advancements in the areas of integration and visualization of data, as well as geometric analysis. With respect to integration and visualization of data, we have been able to display several types of Air Traffic Control (ATC) contextual information with our visualization capability, including: sector boundaries, trajectories, charts, transition fixes, arrival routes, and departure routes (Figure 1). We have also identified sources of information and are able to tag and visually display aircraft trajectories involving specific types of equipage (Figure 2). Our analytic core included a geometric intersection capability that can identify points of interest within the RF coverage, which can be visually displayed and used to produce reports with further details (Figure 3).

Other innovations developed as part of this NSR include:

  • Creation of the convex interior of a geometric object. While the solution for a convex hull of a geometric object is well known and algorithms for its calculation are readily available, little work is available for convex interiors. Convex interior are useful for RF analysis and approximations. (Figure 4).
  • The use of optimal control algorithms to calculate suggested aircraft flight test trajectories. Flight testing of RF networks is constrained by performance characteristics of the aircraft. RF coverage is constrained by propagation characteristic, geographic and physical obstructions.

One of the key performance criteria involves range and ceiling of the aircraft. Efficient test trajectories are desired to investigate areas of interest.


Noblis Sponsored Research projects are conceptualized and developed with federal agencies and the public interest at top of mind. We don’t believe in a “one size fits all” approach, and can work with your agency to determine how to best tailor our solutions and expertise to your unique needs.

To learn more about this project and how it could contribute to your mission, contact us here.

To learn more about the Noblis Sponsored Research program, visit Noblis Research & Development.