Oliver Kibblewhite from the5Gs: "We built the whole end-to-end technical solution for this, including telemetry systems, cameras+capture, transport/display, interactive display applications, VHF links, and a lot more."
The 5Gs invited nocomputer to be a part of their team working on design and programming for:
In order for actual air traffic controllers to be able to work with our software we immersed ourselves into their world. Talking to air traffic controllers and pilots, visiting an air traffic tower, observing and doing a lot of reading and research enabled us to create a suite of tools and software that came as close as possible to the real thing.
We used a diversity of hardware and software to tie everything together in a seamless experience. All video streaming and production was handled by the awesome crew at FIX8Group in Manchester.
Displaying real time ADS-B data on custom map
We've setup an ADS-B receiver at Cambridge airport that pushed data to our own servers. This data was then used in the radar/map application. We chose Unity for developing the application and Mapbox for creating our own custom maps with all aviation related overlays.
Through a touch screen interface, the air traffic controllers could track all air traffic in real time while zooming in and out of the map.
Working in a real time context, landing an actual plane for a video shoot, we did not have the luxury to do multiple takes. There was no room to practice in advance and everything needed to work at the given moment the plane came in for landing. We also needed to take into account that we still needed shots with a working system after the plane landed. Therefore we created a whole system that was able to record and playback all incoming data fully synchronized with the actual shot video.
Data coming from 3rd party services was reparsed in a json format and stored as files on our internal server. All files were timestamped. We created an application in openFrameworks to parse an incoming timed audio signal (LTC). Then the current timestamp was submitted as tcp signal to a nodejs web server which then served the correct data to the ADS-B and weather applications.
Pan Tilt Zoom control
We also created an application to automatically follow/track airplanes with data coming from our ADS-B receiver. We used Python for calculation yaw/pitch from gps coordinates to then steer the pan tilt zoom system - FLIR PTU-5
We used Touchdesigner (because it is hip and trendy ;-) to create a UI overlay indicating direction over the actual video feed.