VAST - Virtual Airspace and Tower

Air Traffic Control Officers have been working for decades with mainly unchanged technology that uses an abstract, two-dimensional visualisation of airspace (RADAR). They have to gain their situational awareness by a mental extraction of the third dimension; i.e. the flight levels are only indicated with text.

The project VAST (Virtual Airspace and Tower) is concerned with the question of how state-of-the-art visual computing technologies and visualisation concepts can help projecting the air traffic into a virtual space in such a way that air traffic controllers are able to gain situational awareness more easily and with better quality than with present technology. The aim is also to verify, if new visualisation and interaction concepts can increase efficiency (faster decision-making) and safety (conflict detection).

Furthermore, VAST provides the required technologies on the way of the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) to 4D trajectories – a technological challenge within European aviation. In this way, VAST supports the Austrian aviation industry with a sustainable, competitive advantage by being prepared for area-wide deployment of SESAR technology.

Copyright Images: Frequentis (Tower image), FH St. Pölten (Logo & Screenshots)

Low-Fidelity Prototyping

The team already developed three low-fidelity prototypes: vast2D visualizes the air traffic in an enhanced two-dimensional way. vast2&3D combines a two- and three-dimensional representation of the air space. vastAbstract enhances the two-dimensional representation with an abstract visualisation of height and arrival time. For better insight, the following resources are available:

Frank Michelberger
Martin Kalteis
Christian Jandl


Rind, A., M. Iber, and W. Aigner, "Bridging the Gap Between Sonification and Visualization", Proc. AVI Workshop on Multimodal Interaction for Data Visualization (MultimodalVis), 2018.
Rottermanner, G., P. Judmaier, E. Eggeling, V. Grantz, and U. Kriegshaber, "Virtual Airspace and Tower (VAST)", Tagungsband 12. Forschungsforum der Österreichischen Fachhochschulen, FH Salzburg, FFH Open Access Repository, 04/2018.
Rottermanner, G., M. Wagner, M. Kalteis, M. Iber, P. Judmaier, W. Aigner, V. Settgast, and E. Eggeling, "Low-Fidelity Prototyping for the Air Traffic Control Domain", Mensch und Computer 2018 - Workshopband, Bonn, Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V., pp. 605-614, 09/2018.
Rottermanner, G., M. Wagner, V. Settgast, V. Grantz, M. Iber, U. Kriegshaber, W. Aigner, P. Judmaier, and E. Eggeling, "Requirements Analysis & Concepts for Future European Air Traffic Control Systems", Workshop Vis in Practice - Visualization Solutions in the Wild, IEEE VIS 2017, Phoenix, Arizona USA, IEEE, 10/2017.

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