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COLOR DESIGN FOR AEROSPACE APPLICATIONS

On This Page: Links to:  • Design of Cockpit Graphics   • Design of Air Traffic Management Graphics   • Color in Aviation Charts and Maps

Designers of aerospace graphics currently face particularly difficult challenges. Introduction of new technologies into the cockpit and air traffic control centers is highly regulated, as one might expect considering the public safety implications. The cost of implementation is also high in the widely diverse fleet of long-lasting aircraft. Consequently, change has come slowly to aerospace graphics. As a result there is a substantial gap between data systems and displays in aerospace and those in other commercial settings. As the capabilities of the hardware and software in aircraft and air traffic control centers increase there is pressure from the operational community for very large changes in the types and amounts of information displayed in aerospace applications.
 

Design of Cockpit Graphics Back to the top of the page.
A cockpit display of traffic and navigation information. A few aircraft and some navigation and operational information are shown in bright symbols on a black background.
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Conventional cockpit displays. Cockpit displays have only recently included color capabilities. This is a NASA research display, with several advances beyond the usual navigation display. Color-coded traffic data are displayed, and tools to assist planning for traffic avoidance are provided. Luminance contrasts have been designed to reduce perceptual clutter, an important consideration in displays that are only one part of a broad "situation awareness" responsibility.
New, complex cockpit displays. Hazard data of several types are simultaneously displayed in this prototype display. Addition of area variables (terrain, weather) requires careful management of colors to meet legibility, attention management, and color-coding demands.

More about Design of Cockpit Graphics (Example): go to this page
A more complex cockpit display of hazard information. Aircraft, navigation, and operational information are shown in dark symbols on light backgrounds. Weather and terrain are shown as shaded areas, with hazardous parts indicated in bright colors.
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Design of Air Traffic Management Graphics Back to the top of the page.
An air traffic control display of traffic and navigation information. A few aircraft and some navigation and operational information are shown in white symbols on a black background.
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Simple Air Traffic Management displays. The FAA is in the process of replacing aging displays in air traffic facilities with new systems that have vastly improved graphic capabilities. The older graphics were limited to achromatic, bright symbols on dark backgrounds. Users could adjust the luminances of large classes of data symbols to try to manage clutter but the tools were limited. The display at left is a NASA research display with appearance that approximates older ATC displays.
Complex Air Traffic Management Displays. As in the cockpit hazard display above, hazard data of several types are simultaneously displayed in this prototype ATC display. Addition of area variables (terrain, weather) and new software decision-support tools require substantial changes from traditional ATC graphics to meet legibility, attention management, and color-coding demands.

More about Design of Air Traffic Management Graphics (Example): go to this page
A more complex air traffic control display of hazard information. Aircraft, navigation, and operational information are shown in dark symbols on light backgrounds. Weather is shown as shaded areas, with hazardous parts indicated in bright colors.
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Color in Aviation Charts and Maps Back to the top of the page.
Section of a NOAA aviation map in which various levels of surface elevation are shown in shades of brown, tan and green, along with navigation symbols and ground feature labels.
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Aviation Chart Example: This is a sample from the printed NOAA San Francisco sectional chart. Aviation charts have very high data densities. Color is just one of several graphic variables used to achieve the visual hierarchy of the information. As part of a general trend toward less paper in the cockpit, designs are being developed to display this information in electronic form. The sophisticated designs of these paper charts and the high data density provide big challenges for the designers of electronic versions.

More about Color in Aviation Maps and Charts: go to this page



Related Topics:
go to this page Design of Cockpit Graphics (Example)
go to this page Design of Air Traffic Management Graphics (Example)
go to this page Color in Aviation Maps and Charts 



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