Leonardo’s Mapping Software Will Help Lost Pilots Flying Over the UK Find Their Way Home Safely

Leonardo’s ‘auto triangulation’ software has gone live at the UK’s ‘Distress and Diversion’ cell-based at NATS, the UK’s main air traffic control services provider.

The Distress and Diversion cell is manned by RAF personnel 24 hours and is the world’s only dedicated aeronautical emergency control centre. Its staff monitor the international aeronautical distress frequencies all day, every day and are ready to react at a moments notice. All aviation emergencies in UK airspace are controlled and overseen from this centre, covering civil, private and military aviation across the UK.

Auto triangulation mapping is used to locate aircraft whose pilots may have become lost or disoriented. The controllers can then provide useful information back to pilots, enabling the planes to get back on track and reach their destinations safely. Leonardo has also entered a 15-year support arrangement to provide regular map updates, security assessment and obsolescence management for the product.

The software works by receiving transmissions on civil or military distress frequencies and geo-locating the signal and its bearing on a map of the UK’s airspace. Operators can then contact pilots and use the map, which provides detail down to street level, to provide directions using a common frame of reference. To ensure these maps are kept up-to-date, the software can import data from multiple sources which employ the widely-used Web Map Standard, making sure that operators can see the location of the aircraft in relation to new urban or road developments and details such as power lines, masts and other recognisable features such as solar farms.

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