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January 12 2015: SWAPI, Beyond PNR and Blender

Posted on 2015-01-14 21:11:23 +0000 by John

Alice first introduced the Star Wars API which claims to have ‘All the Star Wars data you’ve ever wanted’ and gives you a chance to try out with claim and then the Beyond PNR presentation which takes you through the ways in which data is handled by the airline industry and the governments who want to know who is travelling where. (Click to advance the slideshow.)

Numerous computer systems are used by airlines and airports. For example, a request for a weather report returns a standard sequence in the manner of the shipping forecast which users can decode fairly easily. There are European wide systems along with airline systems and GDS which facilitate sales between travel agents, web portals and airlines, including the four main wholesalers.

A key message is the Passenger Name Record (PNR) which describes one or more passengers travelling together; this is separate from the electronic ticket covering the journey. All this is done on mainframe computers using the TPF (Transaction Processing Facility) which developed out of the 1960s Airline Control Program.

Among the wireless communication systems is ADS-B which is used by FlightRadar24.

In addition to the PNR and the electronic ticket is the API (Advance Passenger Information) which must be added to the PNR to fly to around 30 countries. Note that if the API for your journey to the USA includes SSSS, you are in for a long interview on arrival.

In order to tell whether you need a visa to travel, airlines use Timaticweb. You can check your flight itinerary by signing on to OpenFlights.

After we had been taken half way round the world by Alice

Musa demonstrated Blender, the 3D modelling and animation program, followed by the Blender Demo Reel and the Big Buck Bunny animation.