Transport Canada is planning to put an Aeronautical Information Manual similar to the U.S. AIM online in HTML format this fall. While we’re waiting, they’ve put the existing ICAO-conformant Aeronautical Information Publication online in PDF format.
The PDF is fully searchable (i.e. it’s proper text, not a scan), so Canadian pilots can start resolving pilot-lounge arguments about rules and regulations without spending hours reading through the paper AIP. This, obviously, is a good thing. Once the HTML-based AIM is out, web sites, newsgroup postings, emails and blogs will be able to link directly to subsections and paragraphs of the document, which will an even better thing.
What Transport Canada will need, though, is a new way to report changes in each release of the AIP. While struggling to insert page updates into the current paper AIP was a major hassle, it did give me an easy way to see what had changed each time. A change summary is OK, but what if I miss a cycle? Here’s an idea for Transport Canada: why not set up a weblog with a posting for each AIM ammendment and a back link to the appropriate section of the online document? If you need help, I know a good XML and web consultancy right here in Ottawa.