If you’ve got a Raspberry Pi running as a virtual radar system, then this may be of interest to you. FlightAware has released a small application to allow your Raspberry Pi to feed data to its website.
Called PiAware, the application looks pretty simple to install and setup. It assumes you already have a Raspberry Pi running with dump1090 and the rtl-sdr drivers installed and working with your RTL820T usb dongle. You’ll need some knowledge of the Terminal to install PiAware, but if you’ve managed to get a Raspberry Pi working with dump1090, odds are you already have experience with the Terminal and its commands.
You can view the instructions for installing and configuring PiAware on FlightAware’s website at https://flightaware.com/adsb/piaware/.
Why should you upload to FlightAware?
The world of online global flight tracking is dependent on local users like you and me to provide the data. We use receivers of all shapes and sizes to receive ADS-B data from the commercial aircraft that fly over our homes and offices, and then we upload that information to the various websites for them to disseminate across the world. All in all, it’s very cool stuff.
FlightAware has lately started moving toward ADS-B data contributions to bolster its already impressive website. You can feed data to them through PlanePlotter (Options > Sharing > Setup and then check the box to Enable Sharing to FlightAware). Now, with a five-minute tweak, you can also use your Raspberry Pi to provide ADS-B data to FlightAware.
Why would you want to do that? Perhaps you’re already uploading to FlightRadar24, or Radarbox24, or PlaneFinder.net… or all of them. And FlightAware is already a pretty massive entity in the flight-tracking world, pretty much a go-to site for up-to-date flight information. What could your data do to improve that? As I mentioned, FlightAware has been using ADS-B data recently to enhance its site, to provide new features to users, and to attract new users. And in exchange for that data, FlightAware is willing to give you a free enterprise-level account on its site. That’s a fantastic deal.
I’ve been feeding FlightAware through PlanePlotter for more than six months now, and I’m taking full advantage of that enterprise account. If you’re a registered user on FlightAware, you can track five flights at a time and save three airports as your favourites. You can program up to five flight alerts to keep you informed of the flights’ status. That’s alright, but it’s no enterprise-level stuff. How would you like to be able to track more flights than you can imagine and get alerts on up to 9,999 different flights or aircraft, and get access to premium map layers? And you can view statistics related to your receiver and upload feed.
That’s what an enterprise account gives you. And, instead of paying $89.95 per month for that privilege, FlightAware will charge you absolutely nothing because you’re feeding them ADS-B data in return.
So whether you use PlanePlotter or install the new PiAware app, feeding data to FlightAware makes good economical sense!