I am developping an ATC radar for a simulation.

I don't think there is any standard for radars to show aircraft data on radar screens. But there should be general data to show on radar screens.

For example:

  • Can the data shown be changed on the clients?
  • Is there a difference between ground radar and air radar displayed data?
  • Is there any standard or can you give me any examples?
  • $\begingroup$ Hello Muzaffer, welcome to Aviation.SE. You may want to search for EUROCAT. It is a European surveillance system standard used across the globe. I don't have any information to share at the moment, but I am sure you will find some things online. $\endgroup$
    – DeltaLima
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 9:35
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ www1.metacraft.com/VRC/docs/… It says TAARS is Based on Eurocat. I think there is not a standard. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 10:04

2 Answers 2


There are a few different ATC Systems and Radar Screens being used throughout the world, so there will be no set standard which applies globally, as vendors and setup differ.

The ATC screen can be adjusted to show what information the controller needs, and some items are universal to all positions being served (Callsign, Speed, Altitude, Assigned Altitude), some items are not required on each position to be displayed on the radar tag (Squawk, Routing, Aircraft Type, Wake Turbulence Category).

Some examples:

P1 Radar Target - correlated
Source: www.andreas-milde.de

EuroScope Target
Source: www.euroscope.hu / Air Traffic Simulation Client

Frankfurt Airspace
Source: fluglotse.wordpress.com


The data displayed on the client computer depends on the intended use. Different kind of radar displays exist for different kind of Air Traffic Controllers (ATC).

For example: VFR controllers, the ones that generally first comes to mind when we think of air traffic controllers, and who primarily direct traffic by looking outside through the tower's glass panes, work directly on airport fields. To assist them in times of low visibility, they generally rely on airport ground surface movement radar (SMR). This allows them to see a general layout of the airport, along with any moving vehicle, airplane or person. Data displayed includes raw digitized video, which is a graphical depiction of the radio wave bouncing off the object, (the blip we often see in war movies), along with an ID tag containing the object's velocity, direction, registration, etc.

The other other main branch of ATCs are IFR controllers. They work in enclosed buildings across the country, and need not be close to any airports. Everything they see and hear comes to them through radar and radio links. Their radar display clients do not show the layout of one airport, but rather a portion of an airspace they are responsible for, along with any routes and airways that cross them. Weather is also overlayed (cloud and storm formations), so as not to direct traffic in danger zones. Aircraft tags contain similar data, including transponder code, flight plan number, altitude, etc.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You probably mean "tower controllers" for "VFR controllers" and "centre/en-route controllers" for "IFR controllers". While you could apply the labels "visual" and "instrument" to a controller's mode of operation (whether primarily using eyes or a radar display), without further qualification this is confusing, as a centre controller can still work flights operating VFR, subject to airspace rules. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 10:10

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