(Unofficial) Canadian NOTAMs via RSS

I have added an experimental, alpha-quality feature to OurAirports: local Canadian Airport NOTAMs via RSS (scraped from the Nav Canada web site). If anyone is interested in trying this out, you need to visit a Canadian airport’s page on the site and add “notams.rss” to the end of the URL, e.g.

http://www.ourairports.com/airports/CYVR/

becomes

http://www.ourairports.com/airports/CYVR/notams.rss

You can subscribe to this RSS 2.0 feed using any standard blog reader,such as Google Reader, filter and mash it up using Yahoo Pipes, etc.

Why it matters

The huge advantage of reading NOTAMs in a blog reader is that your reader remembers which ones you’ve already read. That way, when you plan a flight, you don’t have to reread the 20 NOTAMs you read for your flight three days ago. If a NOTAM has been modified, then it will appear as unread again.

Nav Canada and the FAA should deliver NOTAMs this way automatically, as an cheap, easy way to improve flight safety — it’s too easy to miss one important new NOTAM when reading through 20 old, stale ones for the umteenth time.

Caveats

Please read these — some of them are safety-related.

  • This is just an experiment, not a regular feature: I may either drop it or change the way it works at any time, so it wouldn’t be a good idea to build a production-grade web app that relies on it.

  • Airport NOTAMs only: FIC and HQ NOTAMs are not (yet) included.

  • These NOTAMs are scraped from Nav Canada, so any minor change in the way they format their web pages could break the system completely.

  • These may not be up to date, and some NOTAMs may be missing, so unfortunately, you still have to go to the official source before an actual flight; however, this feed will help you keep up to date from day to day on what’s happening in your area.

  • Larger airports have their own Nav Canada NOTAM files, but smaller airports are collected together into larger files. You’ll see the whole file for each airport, not just the specific airport you requested (that’s a design choice).

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About David Megginson

Scholar, tech guy, Canuck, open-source/data/information zealot, urban pedestrian, language geek, tea drinker, pater familias, red tory, amateur musician, private pilot.
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4 Responses to (Unofficial) Canadian NOTAMs via RSS

  1. viennatech says:

    David, did this ever get off the ground? I can see the feed values still generate a web page but it appears to be stuck in a timewarp of August 2008.

    I totally get it’s alpha software but still very useful!

    Thanks.

  2. viennatech says:

    Sorry, I now see where my newsreader fails to pick it up. The software sorts the notams where the newest is at the bottom. Google reader reads from the top. Now it makes sense why my feed never seemed to update.

  3. david says:

    OK, great — you had me scared for a second. I don’t know if I’d trust anything 100% when it’s based on screen scraping, but this seems to have held up OK for the last five months.

  4. Pingback: Fly With Blake » Blog Archive » The Importance of NOTAMs

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