Last weeks were not rich on new features. I mostly concentrated on improving and maintaining existing ones.
Flight tracking is operational for all live airports (apart from London Stansted). Live and non-live flight tracking added for more airports resulting into 826 supported airports (214 of which are live).
Site performance is significantly improved by improving memory and CPU usage, reorganizing data storage and refactoring of old code. Now flight search and schedules pages are much more fast and stable in terms of loading time. Less waiting is always good.
Due to improved data storage, duration of flight data storage will also be increased. Currently SpotterLead tracks times and status for around 3 millions flights.
What are the most popular flight destinations for your airport? Where do people usually arrive to your city from and how often?
Now we can say!
We are introducing new statistics page for airports called “Most Popular Destinations“. This page is available for every airport having flight schedules (static or live: doesn’t matter) supported (which is more than 500 airports currently!) and at least one departure flight performed during the last week.
This page shows:
Approximate average total number of flights daily (both departures and arrivals).
Total number of flight destinations during the last week.
Interactive map including recognized* destinations (powered by Google Maps).
And finally, the list of the most popular destinations grouped by number of daily flights!
This page is located at Statistics subsection of every supported airport page as displayed on a screenshot below:
*Recognized destination – is an airport which was unmistakably identified by our system. This can be a result of airport codes coming from a data provider of this or that flight (e.g. in case if an airport site publishes airport codes directly on its departures & arrivals page). Alternatively, airport of departure/arrival may be identified by our flight record joining algorithm as a useful side-effect. This algorithm is being used for quite a while in our system for a sole purpose of merging data records concerning one and the same flight (but retrieved from different airport data sources) into one combined flight leg item having both departure and arrival data. Such flight legs are used on our Flight Search page actively. Now, this data is also used to recognize destinations for flights having no destination IATA or ICAO code provided directly by airport data source.
I had not that much time to work on SpotterLead these days, so there were only few updates during last month, but one of those was, of course, flights schedules support for more airports. This time it was decided to test our system with more data load and in addition to adding airports individually, we instantly added flight schedules support for medium and major airports for three whole countries: Germany, United Kingdom and Russia.
The full list includes as much as 207 new flight schedules!
Today we have some really great news for our users in Germany: we are introducing German translation for SpotterLead. If you’re using German version of internet-browser, you may expect that language will be changed automatically for you. However, you’re always able to desired language in a small drop-down with country flags located at the very top of any page.
We would like to thank a lot our new project contributor FRA Aviation for providing us this nice translation to German and we are looking forward to future collaboration! FRA Aviation has remarkable plane-spotter accounts at Twitter, YouTube and Flickr. Take a moment to have a look!
Our “great again” series of posts is finalized by a few updates we made to our service.
As many of our users know, we have a PDF version for every planespotter timetable. However, now, in addition to this you can watch timetables as light HTML web page, which is clear, lightweight and also easily printable.
To switch to a light version, you need to open a standard planespotting timetable of any supported airport and click following icon:
Web Application for Mobile
We optimized our site to support progressive web app manifests. What it means that if you have a mobile device with Chrome or Opera browser installed (Firefox should support it soon too), then you can use mobile version of SpotterLead like if it was a separate application on you phone!
Just open our site and press “Add to Home Screen” and you will see our web application icon on you home screen, which you will be able to browse like if it was a real native application!
Hello everyone! Last time we covered our new feature “Flight Schedules” which allows not only to expand airport coverage dramatically by providing non-updated flight timetable, but to expose flight data for future 3+ days also. Read more about it here.
But this makes no sense if you cannot switch timetables to show flights arriving/departing any other time than for 24 following hours only.
That is how it worked until recently…
Now, however, we are introducing historical flight view. This small feature will give you an ability to choose any date and time in past or in future and see which flights were arriving/departing at this time.
Allowed time range to choose is limited by the latest and earliest flights stored in our database for this or that airport. Normally we store flight data for 180 days and now, with a Flight Schedule implemented, provide 3 days lookup in future.
To load planespotter timetable with flights starting from custom date & time, you need to just click the button with the current date & time located near flight search input field and choose date & time you want from a date-time picker which will appear immediately. After that you just need to click a button “Load flights for the selected time” and you will see all the arriving/departing flights starting from the date-time you have chosen + 24 hours. As simple as that.
This feature was requested by our users multiple times and we finally happy to introduce it as now it gives more extensive access to all the flight data we store. This feature is mobile-friendly.
Hope you will like it and stay tuned for more updates!
Yaay! We are extremely proud to announce release of 3 major updates to our planespotter timetables which will make it even more useful. We are going to publish announcements gradually during following few days not to spam you a lot 🙂
Today we are going to give you an overview of the most anticipated update of our system since quite a long while.
Before now we always aggregated flight data from various sources like airport sites providing live updates for flights. However, delivering flights for each airport is time-consuming (why?) and available time range is often limited to 24 hours ahead, so we were always looking for a way to provide better awareness of aircraft movements in more airports at lesser costs without going into usage of expensive APIs (which would certainly make us to make our service commercial).
Flight schedules as any other timetable gives you a more overall look on flights but without providing live updates.
By utilizing free-of-charge Yandex Timetable API we managed to introduce a sub-system that allows to retrieve schedules for any airport without spending enormous amounts of time on creating and maintaining individual per-airport data polling algorithms. We just add a record about airport into a database and that’s it: flights are picked up automatically and become visible on a designated planespotter-timetable page as well as they did for airports with live updates!
Adding new airport is extremely fast, henceforth allowing increasing airport coverage dramatically.
Ability to provide much longer flight data lookup in future (currently it’s 3 days, but soon we are going to gradually increase this limitation).
Flights from schedules may be gracefully integrated with flights which are updated live, so all the airports having live updates now have automatic support of timetables. You also can see schedule flights on the same planespotter timetable page as previously for your airport – you don’t have to look for them separately!
As a consequence of previous two advantages: flight search page now able to display information about flight combining data from live and non-live sources with a lookup of up to 3 days ahead.
Data might be not as precise as for airports with live updates and also may be obsolete as Yandex gets this data from its partners which are not always punctual on updates, so schedules might be used to estimate aircraft movements approximately, but not more than that.
There are no live flight updates for flights retrieved from schedules: schedules are not updated according to actual flight status. Exception is only for airports which also have live updates (Flights Live) implemented. In this case, scheduled flights would be automatically updated with a live status as soon as this information appears on airport site.
We still have to respect usage of the Yandex Timetable API as well as we should respect current performance limit of the servers, so we cannot instantly add all of the airports of the world, but we are going to gradually increase the number of airports and simultaneously optimize operationability of our system.
Airports with Flight Schedules
All the 200 of live airports we had before are now equipped with flight schedule support.
Moreover, for testing purposes we also added 36 more airports, which are listed below:
Los Angeles (KLAX / LAX)
San Francisco (KSFO / SFO)
Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta (KATL / ATL)
Chicago Chicago O’Hare (KORD / ORD)
New York John F Kennedy (KJFK / JFK)
Reykjavík Keflavik (BIKF / KEF)
Düsseldorf (EDDL / DUS)
Hannover (EDDV / HAJ)
Tallinn Lennart Meri Tallinn (EETN / TLL)
Maastricht Aachen (EHBK / MST)
Groningen Eelde (EHGG / GRQ)
Dublin (EIDW / DUB)
Riga (EVRA / RIX)
Vilnius (EYVI / VNO)
Paris Charles de Gaulle (LFPG / CDG)
Paris Paris-Orly (LFPO / ORY)
Hurghada (HEGN / HRG)
Tokyo (RJTT / HND)
Athens Eleftherios Venizelos (LGAV / ATH)
Kerkyra Island Ioannis Kapodistrias (LGKR / CFU)
Milan Malpensa (LIMC / MXP)
Rome Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino (LIRF / FCO)
Istanbul Atatürk (LTBA / IST)
Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (LTFJ / SAW)
Tokyo Narita (RJAA / NRT)
Moscow Zhukovsky (UUBW / ZIA)
Kaliningrad Khrabrovo (UMKK / KGD)
Arkhangelsk Talagi (ULAA / ARH)
Barnaul (UNBB / BAX)
Yakutsk (UEEE / YKS)
Anadyr Ugolny (UHMA / DYR)
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky Yelizovo (UHPP / PKC)
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk (UHSS / UUS)
Abakan (UNAA / ABA)
Omsk Central (UNOO / OMS)
Norilsk Alykel (UOOO / NSK)
Please keep in mind that these airports have schedules only supported. Live flights updates are not available for these!
You can find you planespotting timetable in its previous location by choosing your country on the main page of SpotterLead: https://spotterlead.net.
How do I know now which timetables / flights live and which are just scheduled?
That’s a good question. For distinguishing those we use a special icon: , which means that whatever content you are looking at, it has live updates. And if there is no such icon: it’s a static (scheduled) data.
Although we tried to make usage of this indication as clear as possible, it might confuse you if you got used to the old look of our service. Here we would like to give some explanation of how it works on actual examples:
That’s roughly it. We hove you will enjoy this new feature as soon we are going to add much more airports. Stay tuned and tomorrow we will tell about another major update we introduced to these planespotting timetables (the most attentive users might already noticed it on our screenshots).