Integrated Search for Airports and Flights: New Landing Page

Global Integrated Spotterlead Search of Airports and Flights

No, this is not a joke, but really the first update in a quite long while 🙂

The list of supported airports has grown that large recently, that navigating through them while trying to find the one you need was beyond any reasonable limits of convenience. Old UI was looking decent with smaller number of airports, but no longer now.

That’s why we finally added global integrated search page (which is now also a main landing page) which works as SpotterLead’s personal “Google” 🙂

Global Integrated Spotterlead Search of Airports and Flights
Global Integrated Spotterlead Search of Airports and Flights

By default, you will see list of up to 15 airports closest to you (based on your IP address) within the range of 1000 km and list of up to 24 flights recently found on SpotterLead by other users.

Everything you need to search for specific flight and/or airport is to start typing into the input field either flight number, or airport name, code, city or country name. Starting with at least 3 characters entered, you will start seeing search results live:

SpotterLead Search Results Demo
SpotterLead Search Results Demo

SpotterLead Search Results Demo

Please feel free to check this new search out by visiting http://spotterlead.net !

Launching Telegram Bot

Flight status

If you’re using Telegram messenger, you may try our bot to access certain SpotterLead features right from your messenger!

Add a user named spotter_bot into your contacts and start a chat. After that, you will be free to enjoy the advantages of some of the features:

  • Get info about an airport and its location.
  • Get METAR for an airport and its location.
  • Get nearest arrivals and departures to/from an airport.
  • Flight status.
  • Flight status subscription (updates on flight status and times will be sent automatically to you).

Get info about an airport (including location)

Type /about X, where X – IATA or ICAO code of the airport, and press Send.

Get info about an airport
Get info about an airport

Get METAR for an airport

Type /metar X, where X – IATA or ICAO code of the airport, and press Send.

Get METAR for an airport
Get METAR for an airport

Get nearest arrivals/departures to/from an airport

Type /departures X, where X – IATA or ICAO code of the airport, to get departures and press Send.
Type /arrivals X, where X – IATA or ICAO code of the airport, to get arrivals and press Send.

Both of these commands return a list of flights starting from -30 minutes till +1 hour from the current moment.

Get nearest arrivals/departures to/from an airport
Get nearest arrivals/departures to/from an airport

Flight status

Type X, where X – flight number, and press Send.

Response will contain flight information about the nearest flight with the number specified (if tracked).

Flight status
Flight status

Flight status notifications

If you would like to receive automatic updates on flight status (whenever our system detects it). You can type:
/subscribe X, where X –  is the flight number

To unsubscribe, type:
/unsubscribe X, where X –  is the flight number.

To unsubscribe from all flights, type:
/unsubscribe all

To see a list of all the flights you are subscribed to, type:
/subscriptions

Limitations:

  1. Only flights tracked live may be a subject of subscription. Flights containing scheduled information only may not be followed.
  2. Not more than 3 subscriptions is possible at one time.
  3. Updates may be delivered with a delay.

Please keep in mind that all the information provided by Telegram bot is retrieved from open sources. We do not own this data, neither we guarantee its correctness and consistency! 

Most Popular Airport Destinations Statistics

Most Popular Flight Destinations from Amsterdam Schiphol AMS

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!
Most Popular Flight Destinations from Amsterdam Schiphol AMS
Most Popular Flight Destinations from Amsterdam Schiphol AMS
Most Popular Flight Destinations from Amsterdam Schiphol AMS
Most Popular Flight Destinations from Amsterdam Schiphol AMS

This page is located at Statistics subsection of every supported airport page as displayed on a screenshot below:

Most Popular Flight Destinations from Amsterdam Schiphol AMS
Most Popular Flight Destinations from Amsterdam Schiphol AMS

Each page has a URL like: https://spotterlead.net/EHAM/destinations (you can replace EHAM with ICAO-code of your airport).

* 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.

German Version

German version of SpotterLead

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.

German version of the site is also available at a dedicated domain: https://spotterlead.de

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!

Make SpotterLead Great Again: Light Version and Web Application for Mobile

HTML version

Our “great again” series of posts is finalized by a few updates we made to our service.

Light View

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.

HTML version
HTML version

To switch to a light version, you need to open a standard planespotting timetable of any supported airport and click following icon:

schiphol-lightweight

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!

Make SpotterLead Great Again! Update #2 of 3: Historical Flight View

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.

Choosing a custom date and time on planespotter timetable page
Choosing a custom date and time on planespotter timetable page

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!

Make SpotterLead Great Again! Major Updates #1 of 3: Flight Schedules

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.

Flight Schedules

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!

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • 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:

  1. Los Angeles (KLAX / LAX)
  2. San Francisco (KSFO / SFO)
  3. Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta (KATL / ATL)
  4. Chicago Chicago O’Hare (KORD / ORD)
  5. New York John F Kennedy (KJFK / JFK)
  6. ReykjavĂ­k Keflavik (BIKF / KEF)
  7. DĂĽsseldorf (EDDL / DUS)
  8. Hannover (EDDV / HAJ)
  9. Tallinn Lennart Meri Tallinn (EETN / TLL)
  10. Maastricht Aachen (EHBK / MST)
  11. Groningen Eelde (EHGG / GRQ)
  12. Dublin (EIDW / DUB)
  13. Riga (EVRA / RIX)
  14. Vilnius (EYVI / VNO)
  15. Paris Charles de Gaulle (LFPG / CDG)
  16. Paris Paris-Orly (LFPO / ORY)
  17. Hurghada (HEGN / HRG)
  18. Tokyo (RJTT / HND)
  19. Athens Eleftherios Venizelos (LGAV / ATH)
  20. Kerkyra Island Ioannis Kapodistrias (LGKR / CFU)
  21. Milan Malpensa (LIMC / MXP)
  22. Rome Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino (LIRF / FCO)
  23. Istanbul AtatĂĽrk (LTBA / IST)
  24. Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (LTFJ / SAW)
  25. Tokyo Narita (RJAA / NRT)
  26. Moscow Zhukovsky (UUBW / ZIA)
  27. Kaliningrad Khrabrovo (UMKK / KGD)
  28. Arkhangelsk Talagi (ULAA / ARH)
  29. Barnaul (UNBB / BAX)
  30. Yakutsk (UEEE / YKS)
  31. Anadyr Ugolny (UHMA / DYR)
  32. Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky Yelizovo (UHPP / PKC)
  33. Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk (UHSS / UUS)
  34. Abakan (UNAA / ABA)
  35. Omsk Central (UNOO / OMS)
  36. 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: feed, 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:

tutor1
“Live” indication on the main page
tutor2
“Live” indication on the country spotting page
tutor3
“Live” indication on the airports per country page
tutor4
“Live” indication on the flight search page
tutor5
“Live” indication on the planespotting timetable page
tutor6
“Live” indication on the planespotting timetable page

 Conclusion

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).

See you tomorrow 🙂

Aircraft Types and Airlines Normalization

There was some while since the latest update at SpotterLead. However, we didn’t waste our time and applied our efforts to implement a new and very important improvement to our system: aircraft types and airlines data normalization.

What does it mean?

It’s fairly simple (but not the simplest thing to implement, so far). As soon as we index data from various airport sites we are extremely dependent on the way how these sites describe such things as aircraft, airline or city names.

For instance, one airport can describe KLM as “KLM“, another one may alter it as “KLM Royal Dutch Airlines“, third one might have “K.L.M.“. The same picture was observed with aircrafts: “Boeing 737“, “B737“, “B73H“, “738“, “Boeing 737-800“, “BOEING 737NG“, “Boeing 737-800 (winglets)“. You could finish up with lots of text variants describing one and the same thing! It makes it quite inconvenient to use search on our Flight Live pages especially if you use it for more than one airport page on a regular basis. On this page you need to enter “B73H” , on another – “Boeing 737” to filter flights you want to see. Quite hard to keep this in mind, isn’t it?

Equal Aircraft and Airlines Naming for All the Flights Irrelevant of the Airport

We analyzed millions of flight records we retrieved so far and with the new data normalization mechanism we’ve added, now in 95% of cases you don’t have to worry about the problem as soon as now you are going to have one and the same naming for the absolute most aircraft types and airlines for all the flights tracked from all of 198 currently supported airports.

Our database is set to perform automatic updates of airline data and aircrafts, so we are going to improve it even more gradually.

We also normalized all the naming for historical flight data starting from the 1st of September, 2016. These changes might be found on our Flights Search page.

What’s Next?

This is basically just one of the stages of data normalization, and we’re still looking into possibility to apply normalization for airport names which now are still stored as plain text.

We’ll keep you posted as usual. Stay tuned and enjoy plane-spotting with SpotterLead!

 

 

Flights Live: Traditional Departures & Arrivals

Flights Live – is our key feature that displays arrivals & departures in planespotter-friendly way. It groups flights into intervals and gives you a clear vision of peak hours during the following 24 hours.

However, for a sake of higher diversity, we’re adding a more traditional view to Flights Live page, which displays arrivals and departures as ordinary tables (as all the airports do). To switch to traditional view you need to switch round button with the icon of list:

Traditional arrivals - Flights Live
Traditional arrivals – Flights Live

You may see it on every Flights Live page of any of 195 supported airports. This feature is in preview currently, so updates are quite likely.

Swedish Version

Spotterlead.se

Today we have some really great news for our users in Sweden: we are introducing Swedish localization for SpotterLead. If you’re using Swedish 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 dropdown with country flags at the very top of any page.

Swedish version of the site is also available at a dedicated domain: https://spotterlead.se

For translation to Swedish thanks a bunch to Samuel Andersson – our new project contributor! We are very grateful for enthusiasm and readiness to help demonstrated by Samuel and looking forward to future collaboration!