ATIS Generation Utility for VATSIM Controllers
Current Version: 1.3.1 - Released: 5/7/2006

Description | Features | Screenshot | Download | Documentation | To Do List | Revision History |

Version 1.3.1 released. This version has an expanded parser that handles a few additional METAR codes such as NDV.

Note: DO NOT uninstall the current version before installing the new version! If you do, you'll lose any saved profiles. Please let me know of any problems you experience with this version.

ATISMaker is a simple utility to help VATSIM controllers keep their ATIS text up to date. It periodically retrieves the current METAR for the selected airport, and watches for changes. When a new METAR is detected, ATISMaker extracts various important pieces of information, and assembles a new ATIS for the controller based on a user-created template and specified runway configuration. The controller only needs to select new runways if required, and paste the new ATIS into ASRC when prompted by the program.


  • Monitors METAR for weather changes.
  • Notifies controller when a new ATIS is ready, with a sound and flashing icon in taskbar.
  • Optionally writes the new ATIS to the atis.txt file in your ASRC folder.
  • Indicates which parts of the METAR have changed, to aid the controller in notifying pilots.
  • Allows controller to store "profiles" with common runway configurations and ATIS templates.
  • Recognizes most European METAR formats for wind speed, altimeter, visibility, etc.
  • Allows controller to specify starting ATIS code when taking over for another controller.


Simply run the installer program and follow the on-screen instructions. An uninstaller is included.

Note: Users of older operating systems may need to download the Visual Basic 6 Runtime Files in order to run ATISMaker. The VB6 Runtime Files consist of a few DLLs and other support files, distributed by Microsoft with a simple installer program. They are required to run any program written in the Visual Basic programming language, such as ATISMaker. Users of Windows XP and Windows ME will already have the VB6 Runtime Files installed and don't need to worry about this. Some users of Windows 2000 may already have them as well.

If you aren't sure if you need the VB6 Runtime Files, the best thing to do is just try to run the program. If you get an error about a missing file, or inability to create an object, or something similar, then you'll need to install the VB6 Runtime Files. You can either download them from Microsoft directly, or from here. Both of these links are to a simple installer that you just run once, and it installs the VB6 Runtime Files in your Windows System folder, and you don't have to worry about it again. You may need to reboot after running the installer. I decided to offer the Runtime Files as a separate download, since most people won't need them, and it keeps the ATISMaker download much smaller. Here are the links:


Initial Setup

The first time you run the program, the Airport Code text box will be empty. Enter your airport code there. Use the full 4-letter ICAO code. Next, add your airport's runways to the runway lists. Do this by clicking the "Add Runway" button. Enter the runway with or without leading zero, and an optional L, R or C designator for parallel runways. After you enter a runway, it will show up on both the Landing and Departing runway selection lists.

Next, edit the ATIS template. (A sample template is provided by default.) The template text is used as the "skeleton" of your ATIS. When a new METAR is retrieved, ATISMaker will insert information from the METAR into your ATIS Template, in order to assemble the actual ATIS which you will then paste into ASRC. Information from the METAR is inserted using placeholders in the template, such as %vis% for visibility, %clouds% for sky conditions, etc. See below for a full list of placeholders.

Note: All placeholders must be enclosed within percent symbols. E.g. %winds%

%icao%Airport ICAO Code
%id%ATIS Identifier (Alpha, Bravo, etc.)
%time%METAR Timestamp
%wind%Winds, including variable wind direction
%winds%Winds, including variable wind direction
%vis%Visibility Distance
%visibility%Visibility Distance
%sky%Sky conditions (cloud layers)
%clouds%Sky conditions (cloud layers)
%alt%Altimeter setting
%altim%Altimeter setting
%altimeter%Altimeter setting
%metar%Full text of the METAR, unmodified
%runways%Runways in use, including visual approaches and LAHSOs if applicable
%profile%The name of the current profile

If you want ATISMaker to automatically update the atis.txt file in your ASRC folder, choose "ATIS.txt Location" from the Options menu. In the window that appears, navigate to your ASRC folder and double-click the atis.txt file. This step tells ATISMaker where you have ASRC installed so that it can automatically update the atis.txt file for you. This saves the step of copying and pasting the text into the ASRC settings window. Note that you will still have to open and close the ASRC settings window for the changes to take effect.

The first time you use ATISMaker in a given session, you'll want to press the "Refresh ATIS Now" button once, in order to get the current METAR. You can then select the runways you wish to use by checking the checkbox next to each runway in the Landing and Departing runway lists. Also indicate whether or not visual approaches are in use by checking the box below the runway lists as appropriate.

Automatic Mode

Once you have selected the active runways, you can put ATISMaker in "automatic update" mode by pressing the button labeled "Start" at the bottom left of the window. This will cause ATISMaker to retrieve the current METAR from VATSIM every 5 minutes. If a new timestamp is detected in the METAR, ATISMaker will regenerate the ATIS based on your template, and inform you of the new ATIS code. You will see a popup window with the new code, and ATISMaker's icon will flash in the taskbar. Within this popup window, ATISMaker will show a list of which parts of the METAR have changed, so that you can easily inform pilots of the new weather information. Press the "OK" button on the popup window to copy the new ATIS to your Windows clipboard. You can then paste the ATIS into your ASRC settings window. If you have ATISMaker set to automatically update the atis.txt file, then the new ATIS information will already be shown in the ASRC settings window when you open it. You only need to close the settings window for the new ATIS to take effect. You can enable/disable this feature by checking the "Update ATIS.txt Automatically" option in the Options menu.

If the winds shift during your controlling session, you can change the active runways and generate a new ATIS by clicking the "Refresh ATIS Now" button, followed by the "Copy to Clipboard" button.


ATISMaker allows you to store your various configurations as "Profiles" for later use. A Profile consists of the Airport Code, the ATIS template, the list of runways, and the active runway selections. For example, I have one profile called "KBOS 33L/27 Visual" which I use when those runways are in use with good weather conditions. I have another called "KBOS Night Ops" which has runway 15R for departures, and runway 33L for arrivals, which is the configuration used at Boston Logan after 11 PM for noise abatement.

Profiles allow you to quickly switch between common runway configurations, or between different positions (TWR, APP, CTR, etc) each of which may have a different ATIS template, or even between different airports if you commonly work different areas.

To save a profile, press the "Save" button along the top of the window. The program will prompt you for a name for the profile, defaulting to the last loaded profile name, if any. Press the "OK" button when you have entered the name for your profile. The profile will then be available via the "Saved Profiles" dropdown list.

To load a previously saved profile, choose the profile from the dropdown list and press the "Load" button. The program will prompt you to save the current configuration if any changes have been made since you last saved a profile. The program will then load the airport code, template, runway list, visual approaches selection, and active runway selection from the specified profile. You can then press the "Refresh ATIS Now" button or the "Start" button (if ATISMaker isn't already in automatic mode) in order to generate an ATIS with the new profile configuration.

That's it! Feel free to (Ross Carlson) with suggestions or comments. Enjoy!

To Do List

  • Allow user to select audio file to play when METAR changes.
  • Automatic active runway selection based on user-entered rules.
  • Provide option of minimizing to notification tray.
  • Have identifier change when user changes runway config. (Suggested by Greg Bishop)
Revision History

Version 1.3.1 - May 7th, 2006

  • Tweaked METAR parser to allow for a few additional codes such as NDV.

Version 1.3.0 - May 2nd, 2005

  • Added option to automatically update the atis.txt file in the ASRC folder.

Version 1.2.1 - Apr 15th, 2005

  • Fixed a bug with parsing of METARs with CAVOK// in them. (Requested by numerous persons ... thanks!)

Version 1.2.0 - Mar 13th, 2005

  • Added a list of what's changed to the popup notification. (Requested by David Palmer)

Version 1.1.4 - Mar 1st, 2005

  • Fixed bug where %dew% and %dewpoint% would actually insert the temperature instead. (Reported by David Palmer)
  • Added the ability to specify runways with a leading zero, for countries where the leading zero is used. (Requested by David Palmer)
  • Added the %profile% placeholder. (Requested by David Palmer)

Version 1.1.3 - Feb 5th, 2005

  • Any colons in the template are now converted to spaces to work around an SB2 bug which would chop off the ATIS at the colon.

Version 1.1.2 - Jan 27th, 2005

  • Added Vertical Visibility, if reported, to the sky conditions variable. (Requested by Shawn Dunigan)

Version 1.1.1b3 - Oct 28th, 2004

  • Fixed bug with updating ATIS at start of auto-update cycle. (Reported by Scotte Zinn)

Version 1.1b2 - Oct 15th, 2004

  • Added checkbox for LAHSOs (Suggested by Mike Kaplan)

Version 1.0b1 - May 4th, 2004

  • Initial Beta Release

© Copyright 2004 Ross Alan Carlson. All rights reserved.