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Radar Data Extraction and Visualization, ASR-11 Radar Facility

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Published on Aug 12, 2010

Using the radar data from our Flight 1549 Hudson River reconstruction, we have highlighted the reults of extracting numeric data from raw radar data files and turning it into a time-based animation. ASR Sites collect two basic types of radar information, primary and secondary. A primary return is recorded when a target (such as a metal aircraft or large flock of birds) reflects enough energy to be recorded. A secondary return is one in which the transponder on-board the aircraft sends out a signal in response to the query from the ground-based ASR facility.

We created a time-lapse of the radar data for this particular accident and included aircraft identification tags as well as reported altitudes (in hundreds of feet). Various maps such as satellite images, sectionals (and/or terminal area charts) can be used as a backdrop to the data to aid in visualization. NEXRAD weather data can also be depicted. Any data with altitude information from aircraft that respond to the query with Mode-C are generated at their respective altitudes, allowing for a 3D view in addition to the overhead "plan view".

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