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CHAPTER 5 Airport Systems Airports can have over 1,500 systems with various degrees of automation. The migration of data from one system to another can be challenging, especially when legacy systems are involved. This chapter presents some background information about airport information systems. Data Processes A common element to all airport systems is data. When integrating data from multiple sys- tems, managing the information is key to understanding airport systems. Understanding how to collect the data, the source and distribution of the data, and the tools to begin that process help an airport understand and manage complex information. When integrating systems, identify key design issues early to ensure that the data required for integration has a proper storage area in the new system. Data can be lost during integra- tion if the new system does not have a placeholder for that data, especially when migrating from one system to another and, even more challenging, when the system involved is a legacy system. Consider the following example of how data can be lost without placeholders. A company uses a mail merge program similar to Microsoft Word's mail merge. Placehold- ers are set for the name, company name, and address. If the company name placeholder is left out, then the data has no clear path to travel and it gets lost. Many integration failures result from not properly identifying the data and not planning for data placeholders to store the infor- mation properly. Integration Failure Example Integration projects can be problematic and costly. One example is the experience of the State of Colorado.1 The State had contracted $325 million for five new software systems and upgrades and experienced failures for each one that culminated in 2007. The State was unable to (1) pay welfare benefits on time, (2) accurately pay road crews overtime, (3) track voters or unemployment benefits, and (4) issue license plates. The Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles, which serves 64 counties at 107 locations--all having different requirements and systems--experienced irregularities in the transfer of data from 1 Imse, Anne and Alan Gathright. "Ritter seeks to bring order to computer chaos: Denver tech exec to steer sys- tems' design, purchase." Rocky Mountain News July 23, 2007. http://www.rockymountainnews.com. 57