SWIM information is one of the key concepts which make SWIM possible


Information is the result of the assembly, analysis, formatting, and documenting of data, to make the data useful in an ATM context.

Interoperability at the level of the information service payloads –the assembly of information exchanged using an information service–  is essential in the evolving ATM network. This is a key objective of system-wide information management (SWIM). 

Information service providers/consumers should have a common understanding of: 

  • the meaning of the information in an information service payload; and
  • the encoding of the data in an information service payload.

In addition, the encoding of the data exchanged in an information service payload should be based on a standard exchange language. These requirements respectively address semantic and syntactic interoperability of the information service payload.

The various SWIM standards and recommended practices set out requirements regarding information which are applicable to the ATM network as a whole –generic– and to its information domains. 

Semantic interoperability

Semantic interoperability is the ability of systems and organisations to exchange information with unambiguous, shared meaning.


The ATM Information Reference Model (AIRM) contains the ATM-system-wide reference vocabulary for ATM information exchanged via SWIM. The AIRM contains knowledge about ATM-related information and data.

Information domain

In order to achieve alignment with the AIRM, the information service provider, has two options:

  • It can choose to base the information service payload on an existing information exchange model aligned with the AIRM; or
  • it can provide dedicated evidence of the alignment of the information service payload with the AIRM; this might be the case if there is no suitable information exchange model available, or if no model can be used because of other constraints such as encoding limitations

In Europe, the EUROCONTROL SWIM Information Definition Specification and its associated supporting material provide requirements and guidance on how to establish the alignment between information service payloads (a type of information definition) and the AIRM.

Syntactic interoperability

Syntactic interoperability is the ability of systems to correctly interpret the structure of exchanged data.


Standard ISO/IEC 11404 (2007) provides further information on the requirements for syntactic interoperability

Information domain
  • AIXM is the information exchange model used in the aeronautical information domain.
  • FIXM is the information exchange model used in the flight and flow information domain.
  • IWXXM is the information exchange model used in the meteorological information domain.

Information quality

Information quality is the degree or level of confidence that both the data quality and the process used to convert data into information meet user requirements.


ISO 9000 provides a basic framework for the development of a quality assurance programme.

Information domain

Annex 3, Annex 15 and PANS-ATM contain specific provisions on QMS and information quality for the respective information domains.


Metadata is the information about a resource.


ISO 19115 – Geographic information – Metadata standards provide a set of metadata fields used to describe resources.

Information domain
  • Annex 3, Annex 4, Annex 6, Annex 11, Annex 15, PANS-AIM and PANS-ATM include requirements on metadata for providers of information services. These requirements on the metadata for information may be different from the requirements on metadata for the information service
  • Annex 15 requires aeronautical information services to collect, store and transmit metadata. AIXM uses ISO 19115:2003 – the geographic information – metadata standard. (AIXM profile)
  • Annex 3 requires metadata to accompany messages such as volcanic ash advisory information, tropical cyclone advisory information, METAR and SPECI. It includes references to the metadata profile in the Manual on the Digital Exchange of Aeronautical Meteorological Information (Doc 10003).


This specification contains requirements for information definitions in the context of Initial System Wide Information Management (iSWIM) in Europe.

Information definitions, the formal descriptions of exchanged information, are produced or reused by operational stakeholders. They act as the means whereby the exchanged information is clearly defined, understood and harmonised between stakeholders. Examples of information definitions are the description of information exchanged by services, standardised information exchange models, data catalogues used to list details on the exchanged information, and information exchanges captured as part of a business process model.

The requirements come in two broad categories: general requirements for information definitions and requirements on how to document semantic correspondence to the ATM Information Reference Model (AIRM).

The general requirements include, for example, the need for an edition and a reference date.

The semantic correspondence requirements facilitate semantic interoperability, which is the ability of computer systems to exchange data with unambiguous, shared meaning. The requirements ensure that information definitions conform to the semantics of the AIRM, the common reference language for iSWIM.

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The Specification for SWIM Information Definition sets out a number of requirements to be met by an information definition. It provides some basic examples to illustrate the requirements. However, the specification does not give exhaustive details on how to satisfy the requirements.

This handbook gives guidance to help information definition authors and AIRM conformance report authors to satisfy the requirements.

The guidance contained in the handbook promotes the creation of better information definitions. It will lead to greater harmonisation in the implementation of the specification.

Target Audiences

  • Information definition authors
  • AIRM conformance report authors
  • AIRM conformance report auditors and readers

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