The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued Advisory Circular 150/5300-16B covering general guidance and specification for aeronautical surveys and establishment of geodetic control and submission to the National Geodetic Survey.

The circular, dated Jul. 8, 2019, explains the specifications for establishing geodetic control on or near an airport. It also describes how to submit the information to the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) for approval and inclusion in the National Spatial Reference System (NSRS) in support of aeronautical information surveys.

The FAA points out, “This AC does not constitute a regulation and is not mandatory. However, the following applies:

The standards and guidelines contained in this Advisory Circular (AC) are practices the FAA recommends to establish an acceptable level of data development, documentation and exchange for inclusion into the NSRS in conformance with the policy requirements of OMB Circular A-16, Coordination of Geographic Information and Related Spatial Data Activities.”

The advisory circular cancels AC 150/5300-16A, General Guidance and Specifications for Aeronautical Surveys: Establishment of Geodetic Control and Submission to the National Geodetic Survey, dated Sept. 15, 2017.

Use of these standards and guidelines is mandatory for projects funded under Federal grant assistance programs, including the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). See Grant Assurance #34.

The AC is mandatory, as required by regulation, for projects funded by the Passenger Facility Charge program. See PFC Assurance #9.

Mandatory terms such as “must” apply only to those who conduct aeronautical information surveys using Federal grant funds, PFC revenue or those who seek to demonstrate compliance by use of the specific method described by this AC.

The target audience for the AC is engineering and surveying companies contracted by state aviation agencies or local airport authorities to perform an aeronautical information survey of an airport. They should read the AC thoroughly and other related advisory circulars before commencing an airport project, FAA cautions.

The AC incorporates the following principal changes:

  1. Reformatted entire document for readability, usability and to provide clarification on some criteria.
  2. Updated guidance to recommend meeting datum tie requirements by establishing Temporary Airport control stations (paragraph 2.2.1).
  3. In the glossary list (paragraph 4.2), expanded the list and explained obsolete references to HARN.
  4. Combined Chapter 6, “Data Formats,” with Chapter 7, “Data Medium and File Naming Convention,” to form Chapter 6 , “Data Formats and Medium.”
  5. Removed pencil rubbing requirements from paragraph 7.2.9.
  6. Updated photographic requirements in subparagraphs of 7.2.10.
  7. Updated Table 7-1 and Table 7-2.
  8. Rewrote paragraphs (and subparagraphs), “Primary Airport Control Station (PACS) and HARN Tie,”, “Secondary Airport Control Stations (SACS),”, “Bench Mark Ties.”
  9. Removed “Single Mark Level Tie (3rd  Order)” paragraph.
  10. Removed “Observing Sequence for Conventional Level” paragraph and subparagraphs.
  11. Removed “Observing Sequence for Digital Level” paragraph and subparagraphs.
  12. Removed “Data Submission” paragraph and “Observations for Bench Mark Ties” form.
  13. Updated observations scheme for establishing Primary Airport Control Station (PACS) (paragraph
  14. Added subparagraphs to paragraph 7.8, “Vector Processing,” discussing PAGES software for vector processing, the use of International Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) (IGS) station coordinates for vector reductions, and the use of the COMPVECS program to analyze repeat baseline checks.
  15. Modified vector processing requirements to allow use of the NGS online OPUS-Projects utility (paragraph
  16. Changed the title of paragraph 7.9 from “PACS Adjustment Processing” to “Adjustment Processing” and updated the listed software and related adjustment guidelines. Removed “Blue Book Guidance” and SACS Adjustment Processing” subparagraphs.
  17. Deleted subparagraph “Format and check B-file” from paragraph 7.10 and updated the adjustment subparagraphs.
  18. Updated digital photograph requirements for images of survey marks recovered or described in the project (paragraph 8.2, item 10).
  19. Removed “Transmittal Letter” paragraph and form from Chapter 9.
  20. Removed third page of examples from Appendix A.
  21. Removed “The WDESC Program” and “Mark Types” paragraphs and subparagraphs from Appendix D.
  22. Replaced the “Station Table Form” in Appendix E.
  23. Updated and expanded session information in Appendix F.
  24. Updated software information in Appendix G.
  25. Removed Appendix J, Project Submission Checklist, because it is obsolete.
  26. Updated entire document to provide up-to-date information, added technical details (such as accuracies and confidence levels), added additional guidance, and made minor editorial changes throughout. Provided hyperlinks (allowing the reader to access documents located on the internet and to maneuver within this document) throughout this document, identified with underlined text. When navigating within this document, return to the previously viewed page by pressing the “ALT” and “←” keys simultaneously. Figures in this document are schematic representations and are not to scale.

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