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Improvements to FlightAware Maps & Understanding Map Behavior

There has been a lot of attention and scrutiny to flight tracking maps in the last few days, so we've made some great improvements to improve visualization and have a few updates to help everyone understand what they're seeing and how the data is derived. ( More...

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Chris B 16
I get what they are doing and appreciate it.
However, would suggest a different color than white/gray as that color is already used to denote the border of between countries.
dbaker 13
That's a good point, we're working on tweaking the colors across all the various map layers to make it easier to see.

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lynx318 4
BaronG58 14
Mark, you have way too much time on your hands. I personally would appreciate it if you would take your narcissistic diatribes somewhere else. There are many conspiracy theory sites that would embrace you. There is a reason why you are downvoted..."We Don't Care." Go somewhere else to achieve your perceived 15 minutes of fame. Having said this, I will now lean back and await your visceral attack on me.

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crk112 5
FACT: It's a waste of time to have to scroll past your post to look at the comments I care about.
FACT: I really do not care what you have to say.
FACT: I downvoted you also so that hopefully the next person won't have to waste 5 extra seconds of their life scrolling past your post.
justin chavez 3
Dude, the Internet is probably not the best place to be looking for facts. To me Flightaware is almost for entertainment purposes. Sometimes I file an IFR so that people can watch my progress so I guess its useful for that but trying to use it as a source to accurately track a flight for search and rescue purposes probably won't work. Thats what transponders, ELTS, Spidertracks, and SPOTS are for. FYI I voted you down also
BaronG58 8
Great job FA!! Thanks for the quick response and explanation on how this works. Learned something today....
crk112 7
I thought Flight Aware was providing a service to hobbyists.. I didn't realize there were people out there NOT PAYING FOR IT that expect it to be better than official FAA radar? Am I way off??

I use it to track my family when they fly GA or airline... I really don't care if some track got drawn 3 miles away from where it actually flew.

Coming from an IT department myself I can understand exactly why these things work the way they do.

I can also understand exactly why OTHER people might be easily confused by such a concept and lash out and make themselves look like idiots in front of everyone as a result.
sparkie624 6
Thanks for a Job Well Done... Keep up the good work.
joel wiley 4
Great job! It is a good step to differentiate between what we know and don't know. We will be able to tell which is which, with the addition of seeing where are the gaps in worldwide data.

Am sorry that it took the tragedy of MH17 to focus on what previously was a mostly a trivial issue on data display.

Question on the updates. If you have a flight with sparse reporting data with a position at point A, then a lack of data until a position is reported at point C, is the route posted as the shortest path between A & C or is there some smoothing algorithm used in placing the route line?
The route shown between A & C will be the great circle route between the endpoint of A and the startpoint of C.
joel wiley 1
So it is a best-guess swag. Not a problem. It's just part of the duck model.
The map looks like peaceful tranquil sailing along, like a duck on the water.
Underneath there is paddling like H....
thanks for the reply.

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jose colaco 3
I use FA mainly to get info on flight arrivals. Useful when one has to head to the airport to receive a family member or friend. Occasionally, have had to cross check Flight Status with the Airline's site. Thank you FA
Oneontaky 3
Thanks for being there FA.
Gr8, keep up the good work.
Dennis Harper 2
Concerning the change in track color, may I suggest dashed lines where tracks have weak data. I find the difference between green and white lines to be slight. A dashed line is more intuitive and better serves those with problems interpreting colors and shades.
I need a map FA has because I wanna make the same thing but for flight simulator <3
Jean McDonald 1
Would it be possible to add parenthetic time conversions to the departure and arrival times? A subscriber could enter the time zone he/she is in. The program would give the time at departure, say AST, and in parentheses include the subscriber's local time. This added input would only be needed for international flights.
dbaker 1
This feature could be added. In the mean time, you can select various time zone settings in your account settings to define your time zone and how you want times and time zones displayed.
Dan Kap 1
I'm wondering when ADS-B, both In and Out, becomes more commonplace, how that'll affect FlightAware's maps and reporting. I've recently gotten a Stratus 2 for my Arrow, and had my Garmin 330 transponder modified for ADS-B Out. Even though the system is as yet quite nascent, with just a small amount of its potential being utilized, to me it's already a wonderful cockpit tool.

Dan Kap,
Whittier, CA
Felix Senada 1
That's a good news to the flying community...
Dan Kap 1
Thanks for the comment, Felix. There's a lot of controversy surrounding ADS-B with respect to its hardware and installation costs. And I can't blame GA pilots in the least; cost in other areas of GA flying are already huge. If you don't have certain, existing equipment in your airplane, installing ADS-B can be a huge, debilitating expense. So there are many facets to it.
Felix Senada 1
I couldnt agree with you more on the many facets to it....
rogerscher 1
Good improvements with the exception of using "hollow white." There isn't that much difference between "hollow white" and the white used to indicate the borders of countries; it doesn't stand out. Why not use international yellow. It would stand out, as lines on a map should, and everyone knows that yellow means caution. In this case: "caution, planned, not actual route; actual route pending receipt of data." Red would also work because everyone know that red mean stop or danger, but yellow seems to be the more logical choice.
alex kulak 1
it would be cool if you guys can get the registration numbers of the planes.
Air India 127
joel wiley 2
Is there a question in there somewhere, or a point you want to make?
Just a wild guess ! Before the comment was typed completly, it got posted !
Rpt .... just a thought.
joel wiley 1
Thanks. That makes sense. Am used to seeing cryptic jots that are supposed to represent some esoteric subject. It could also have been posted to the wrong squawk. Let's see if it develops further.
9dixo9 1
Good show!I have no problem with the colors of borders matching flight path colors. Keep it simple as it is.
Jim Dantin 0
Gene spanos 0
Thanks for all the great feedback here.
Gee ...I wounder just how long it will take for
the small airline owner -operators to retrofit the
avionics communications when NextGen finally takes over.
Little friends below 10,000 Feet AGL could be an issue....
Kent Thompson -1
What the he$$ is map behavior?

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Brian Bishop 19
Dude, lighten up! They're doing the best they can. F.A. is a BUSINESS that provides information to its customers. If you can't grasp the complexities of what they're trying to do with the information they have, then go somewhere else. Geeeeez....
joel wiley 20
At least he didn't post that some in-law was making $84/hr on the internet and give a URL to get in on the action.....

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joel wiley 16
Mark, I clicked on your account name and found you have been a member for seven year, and that this is the first time you have posted.

I will try to answer your questions from my perspective. Mind you this is just MHO, and does not reflect anything else.

Your post:

1. Why all my comments about changes in factual data reports on flight aware have been "down voted" or removed or buried so they can't be found on this site without extraordinary efforts.

- you posted the same exact lengthy message several times in multiple squawks. This appeared to me somewhat odd in the least. I personally down voted them because of the multiple postings as a manner of negative feedback. If a post has an aggregate vote tally of -10, it is dropped from viewing with the option for someone to click on it to see what it said. I clicked on one of yours that had that action taken only to discover it was the duplicated post.

2. What is the problem with asking questions?
- absolutely nothing, in general.

3. Why has No One in this "community" (the word used by the FA STAFF ON THE TELEPHONE TODAY) even commented on the substance of the FACTS about these altered flight tracks on these particular days?
- It is the luck of the draw. What kind of comments were you expecting. I did comment on one post, it may have been yours or another's about MH17 route changing over time- I did not understand whether the referred changes were between days or if the data on one particular flight changed between views.

4. Why are my comments the only ones that I can find that have been "down voted"?
- Your ox got gored this time. It has happened to others on various squawks.

5. Why was I told by FA employees today that they can log into customers accounts, and that might explain why votes on these posts appear as difficult to explain or why votes might be counted that I (we?) didn't actually vote?
- I don't have a clue what you were told nor why. Are you suggesting that FA staff log onto accounts to 'phantom vote'? I've found that if I vote upvote something once, the count goes from N to N+1, if I vote again, it goes from M to M-1. Maybe admin override works differently. IMHO, FA staff are too busy to bother with such trivial things as voting on a person's squawk post.

6. Why was the data from the MH17 series of flights about 75% complete guesswork NOW, one day after many many stories quoting information from this website were used as that thought-provoking, concerning or disturbing to anyone on this site?
- Good question. Pick any subject, find the root source document, then compare the variety or reporting nuances that spread out from there. I'd attribute it to a) misinterpretation, b) wild speculation, and c) just piss-poor reporting practices on a global basis.

7. Wll this comment also get down-voted, and why?
- Referring to the post to which I am replying, probably. Just because the whims of voters. My relpy- anyone' guess.

Bottom line on your original post: I really could not understand clearly the point you were trying to make about with data you posted.
Chip Hermes 12
Hey dude I hate to break it to you, but your link to the MAS17 flight is on the wrong day -- it was on the 17th, your link is to the 14th. I don't want to be a jerk but I seriously think you might need to take some time off and make sure you're OK on the basics (food, water, sleep, meds, etc).

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joel wiley 8
Your point
"Does it make you feel better to know that now we all know that FA really is extrapolating the vast majority of their flight data, at least in these crucial flights, or to now know that "we really have no idea" where the planes are, is better than being lied to up til today? " is a good one. FA has always acknowledged that some data and datapoints outside their service area are interpolated. Up to the point of impact on MH17 this was not considered significant. Their response appears to have been to reprogram the display so that hard data is displayed differently than interpolated data. That they did not do so before this incident IMHO is a sin of omission rather than commission.

From FA FAQs
"Tracking Data

How does FlightAware handle flights around the world? What is FlightAware's service area? (Back to top)
FlightAware's primary service area includes airspace operated by the United States (including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto RIco, and Guam), Canada, the Caribbean, Australia, the United Kingdom, and France. Flights in the primary service area support real time maps, departure and arrival information, delays, and more.

FlightAware's secondary service covers scheduled major airline operations at any airport in the world. Flights in the secondary service area support departure and arrival information. Secondary coverage areas may have real-time positions for ADS-B equipped aircraft operating in FlightAware's ADS-B coverage area. Additionally, some airlines send FlightAware satellite position reports from aircraft worldwide that augments other position data and provides transoceanic coverage as well.

For flights arriving in a service area from outside of a service area, FlightAware will be able to track the flight when it nears a service area. For flights departing a service area, FlightAware will be able to track the flight until it leaves the coverage area. Flights may not be tracked beyond that point unless they enter another service area.

Not all worldwide data sources (e.g., European data, datalink ARINC/SITA ACARS, etc) are freely available on due to government regulations or commercial arrangements. You can contact us if you have a commercial need for worldwide data.

The above quote may need to be updated in the light of recent changes.

I must respectfully disagree with your assertion "In fact, world opinion and events are turning on assumptions made about FACTS." I believe that opinion and events are turning on assumptions made by other assumptions, innuendo, prevarications, and entities (governmental and nongovernmental) spinning the story to their personal benefit.

If you wish to continue this conversation with me, may I suggest you send me a PM via the discussion board.

And, I don't think the Chip's comment improved the general signal-to-noise ratio.
I voted down several comments because they sounded conspriacy based, rather than logic based.
Jd Young 7
Same here...That and the fact he was like 1 or 2 away from -10. Just trying to help him out.

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Is there a way to tell what ATC is assigned to each departure and or arrival


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