FlightAware Discussions

Feeding Flightradar24, Planefinder etc. is a Mistake

hi all,

my intention with this post is - to get a real discussion about other feeds beside flightaware.

it’s about three months ago when i started this ads-b thing and feeding planefinder then flightaware and at least flightradar24. even it was funny to become global number six feeder in planefinder - yesterday i shut down all my feeds apart from flightaware. as my internet-connection is 50mbit down and 10 mbit up - this was definitely not the reason :slight_smile:

my reasons to shut down all other feeds was: what do i get back from them for my about 50-100$/month worth data? in my opinion - nearly nothing. the guys from planefinder are friendly but their app and webinterface are mediocre - from flightradar24 you get nearly zero support and their main advantage the app costs about 20$ all inclusive.

from flightaware i get:

  1. very very good mlat data back-feed for free use in any way
  2. a highly active and very helpful forum which is truly uncensored
  3. active software development and excellent technical support from obj
  4. best stats in industry

i asked myself ‚why should they do this over the coming years‘ as what they do costs lots of money and all the others (pf, fr24 etc.) get your data too - nearly for nothing.

posts up to now show that i’m not a ‚natural born fanboy‘ but now i have to say ‚thank you houston‘

just my two cents
tom

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I’m currently sending my data to PlanePlotter, FR24, Flightaware (via Piaware) and a UK network MLAT-radar.net. It doesn’t cost me anything to send the data since the monthly charge for the 50Mb down /15Mb up broadband link includes unlimited data. I’m happy to supply data to them all since they provide different options and capabilities.

Before I explain why I contribute to each of those, let me just say I’m a plane spotter - I want to know the tail number :unamused: :

Planeplotter because it offered MLAT before anyone else so I continue to use it.

FR24 because I occasionally use the app when on vacation. I also like the playback feature so I contribute as “payment” for using that facility.

Flightaware - I wouldn’t bother with it except for its Piaware software. I used to send data to Flightaware from my SBS-3 but saw no benefit from it so I stopped the feed. The app is of no use to me. Piaware is a whole different thing - as mentioned by the OP, the ability to take the MLAT data and use it was the deciding factor. The Piaware forum is also a useful resource.

MLAT-radar-net is yet another source of data

I’ve never considered Planefinder - maybe I need to look at that.

Ian

I almost stopped feeding FR24 when I had just one to many downright rude responses the founder to a posting in their forum space. Their moderators are not much better - certainly they don’t appreciate that newbies who ask a question that was previously asked and answered 5 months prior haven’t read all posts on all threads in the forum space.
The company don’t give shut for their ‘Pi’ feeders - unless possibly they’re located in an area where they have no other feeders. (that said, I do feed them 1 - 3am nightly)

Plane finder / Pinkfroot - People are nice - don’t mind feeding them.

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@idh + peterhr
yep - had the same experience with fr24 that’s why i won’t feed them anymore regardless what ever happens.
the guys from planefinder are very friendly - no question. but if i feed them they have the same data flightaware gets without spending all the money and software development fa does. i think that’s not fair - so i stay with my decision.

When I landed into the adsb hobby 2½ years ago, I started feeding Planefinder, Flightradar24 and Radarbox24 using my DVB-T, and receiver software RTL1090 installed on Windows Desktop. This was an experiment & exploration, as my Desktop did not run 24 hrs a dsy / 7 days a week.

In begining of this year, I purchased Raspberry Pi, and switched the feed of Planefinder & Flightradar24 to RPi, and also added Flightaware feed, and a 24/7 feed is working since then. Radarbox24 still inttermittent on Windows Desktop, as they dont have software to feed from RPi. Recently I have added feed to adsbexchange.com.

I feed all these sites in return to use of their forum and support. Flightaware has additional advantage of active technical support and openness.

Anyway, data feeding is not, and was never, my main objective. My main interest was, and is, to develop low cost and easy DIY hardware system. Two and half years ago when I started adsb hobby, most hobbyist will go for professional antennas, speciality amplifiers, filters, and low attenuation costly coax. I was one of the very few who set upon to use low-cost (rather no-cost :slight_smile: )DIY antenna, low-cost Satellite Amplifier, and low-cost common TV dish/antenna coax (RG6). In the adsb world predominantly oriented to high quality professional equipment, my ideas were not appreciated in the beginning, but gradually made their way.

I am thankful to Planefinder forum and Flightradar24 forum for letting me present my ideas & experiments from since I started this hobby, and also thanks to Flightaware forum, which I started using since begining of this year.

And last, but not least, I am thankful to the wonderful and vibrant community of members of these forums.

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I got my start in the hobby by way of FlightAware because of their Piaware feeder software. It was easy and fun to get going. I learned a bunch about ads-b, Debian, Raspberry Pi and associated hardware, etc., and got the idea that feeding other sites was a freebie - it’s like being able to contribute to several charities with the same money, if that makes sense. So I do it as a favor and as a technical challenge. I don’t expect anything from the other sites and rarely look at their pages. When I do look at an aggregator I look at FlightAware. I’ve never had any problems with the other sites and a lot of the folks - especially on the forums (abcd567 as a great example) - and Lee Armstrong at Pinkfroot I consider a friend and technical support expert. Support here at FlightAware is great. The folks are very responsive and proactive. And OBJ is a great resource even if he hates tech support. :smiley: I’m just happy to upload data as long as it’s appreciated and all the sites have expressed appreciation in one form or other. Everyone can contribute as they see fit.

As a PS, in good part due to this hobby I’ve gained a real appreciation for Linux and have converted all but one of my computers to Linux Mint. I used to work on Unix and Linux systems as a system administrator, but never gained a love for Linux until I began using it as a hobby.

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jepolch - i can understand what you mean - but do not really agree. in my opinion this has nothing to do with charity. all these companies try to make money with their ads-b business. while flightaware spends a lot of money to give all these things (i mentioned above) back to their feeders others don’t - but get the same data from us.

this way fa gets less money for their collected data and moreover are less competitive than those that save the money and give less back to feeders. so it is not ‘like being able to contribute to several charities with the same money’. i’d say it is just like always going to your favorite garage with small problems and ask them for free help - and for the payed yearly maintenance you go somewhere else …

I first started this hobby last year. I found out about FlightAware and ADS-B when I was looking around on the Adafruit website. So I thought I would try it out. So I did it for a few months, then I stopped doing it for a while. I started it back up months ago and I’m back into a lot now.

I have 5 sites that I feed FlightAware in 3 different locations. I also feed Flight Radar 24 from one of the 5 sites, and I feed Plane finder from 2 of my sites. I never got into checking out what Plane finder has to offer. I do use FR24 phone app for alerts. The mean reason for doing this is to not only to help FA and others out, but also to learn new things and learn more about Linux and Nano and everything thing else that comes with it. The support that I get and see on this website is AWESOME.

Everybody is helpful and willing to show and tell you how to do something. OBJ is one great Tech support person. Plus Jepolch and a lot of others. I can keep naming people that helped me out since day one. It’s nice to have a great support team when it comes to this.

Keep up the great work… :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

FlightAware:
I started out feeding FlightAware and will continue to do so. As stated before they are on top of their software. They are open to helping people get a start such as purchasing PlanePlotter licenses when needed. They invest in their feeders not just use them. The community is honestly one of the most technical and helpful of any of the other sites. The end user data and services are IMO by far the most featureful of any other site.

PlaneFinder:
I feed them and see no reason to stop. I like their polar distribution charts which are a great feature I wish FlightAware would incorporate into their site. The web sites layout is modern and really really easy to view with information readily available and their playback feature is a really cool feature as well. (On a side note one of my biggest complaints about FlightAware is viewing flights. The layout seems so compressed and really bland to me as opposed the Plane Finders…) Also their community seems courteous and helpful from what I have seen.

ADS-B Exchange:
Kind of a bandwidth hog at the moment but it’s the new kid on the block offering some “interesting” data. Doesn’t offer tons of data on flights but have found flights to mark as interesting on my own installation of VRS. Kind of neat seeing a plane circle around the Akron area for a few days straight the other week and finding out it was the DOJ.

FR24:
Never fed them, never will… They seem full of themselves on their forums and the fact with their post announcing the release of their software supporting MLAT they seem to be forcing their version of dump1090 using a proprietary data format upon people basically straight up stating that other versions are inferior and send nothing but bad data. IMO this is a push to make it harder to share data openly with aggregate sites other than theirs.

http://forum.flightradar24.com/threads/9132-Beta-test-new-Flightradar24-MLAT-software-for-Raspberry-Pi

In efforts to improve data quality we have decided that we need to unify the decoding software on all our platforms and receivers. We’ve suffered from bad data for a long time and I think every one has seen an aircraft jumping or being shown where they weren’t supposed to be.

Why because no other version of dump1090 feeds proper data?
To lazy to put in place some checks on their end maybe?

http://forum.flightradar24.com/threads/7563-Flightradar24-decoder-feeder-BETA-testing-(Win-RPi-Linux-OSX)

The package provides everything required to run the decoder software, including modified dump1090 utility which is forked from Malcolm Robb’s branch but has several improvements for FR24 MLAT. It may be incompatible with other MLAT software if you use some.

Why so those wishing to share data with other sites are forced to jump through nearly impossible if not impossible to reach hoops so they can?

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@jprochazka

FR24:
I do not use the FR24 feeder from the link you have posted. I feed them using their “official” software which does not seem to use a special version of dump1090, or affect existing dump1090. I have dump1090-mutability v1.15~dev, and it continued to work normally even after installation of FR24 “official” data feeder. For FR24, I have enabled MLAT in one RPi, and disabled MLAT in other RPi. For Flightaware, I have enabled MLAT for both RPis. I can see MLAT planes fed back by Flightaware on gmap.html of both RPis. If I turn off Flightaware data feed, the MLAT plane disappear, showing that FR24 does not feed back MLAT data calculated by them. Really it is great for Flightaware to feed back their MLAT positions. THANK YOU FLIGHTAWARE.

The FR24 “official” software is available from this site:

http://www.flightradar24.com/raspberry-pi

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First off I don’t doubt FR24 will take FA’s MLAT results even though they complain about them being way off.

Secondly Betas become “official” eventually…
And when their MLAT enabled beta does become official I do not see it playing nice with other software as stated by users using the software.
forum.flightradar24.com/threads/ … #post68662

If you read through the posts:

First off there are 30 pages of posts generally pertaining to issues TRYING to share data with other sites. A “Super Moderator” stated that it is not possible to use FR24 MLAT data in VRS. (WTF I cannot even view the results of data I shared? maybe you should not be trying to lock down data making it only usable by your site FR24…) The same "Super Moderator " stated to use dump1090-mutability you will need to modify the source to send MLAT data to FR24 more than likely breaking FA MLAT from what I read.

Sorry can not get behind a company expecting those feeding data freely from an open community to have to jump through hoops to feed other sites they wish to feed as well without having to resort to all sorts of hacks and fixes in order to do so. No other site expects this of those sharing data to them.

I agree with you FlightAware has a TON of my respect for the simple fact not only do they give you most every feature their site offers but also they have no problem return data which you can use freely the way you see fit in return for sharing your data with them. FR24 appears to be going the opposite way trying to monopolize the data you feed to them making it only usable by FR24.

Sorry still see no reason FR24 deserves my feed what so ever even if their official non-MLAT client plays well with others.

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I got started several years ago when my curiosity was piqued by a daily UPS flight at 4:55 heading into KMHR 22L going right over the house. That led me to the FlightAware website which, in turn, led to PLaneplotter and the ability to contribute data for the cost of the DVB receiver. I followed the development of the FA’s fligthfeeder but couldn’t afford one and my location did not warrant a complementary one. Then came Piaware…

I continue to feed FA and Planeplotter, and have added feeds for VRS-America and adsbexchange. Have not looked into Planefinder and Flightradar24. As jepolch mentioned, I see it as contributing to, if not charities, a larger community. I look at it as a way of paying it forward. If that doesn’t work for you, then, from a sign in an office where I worked “Doing a good job around here is like wetting your pants in the dark- you get a warm feeling and nobody notices”.

I enjoy reading the posts on the wide range of topics and try to contribute on occasion. I appreciate all of the work OBJ has done and that among the contributors here is the owner and CEO of FA. I have learned a lot about aviation and am enjoying relearning Unix/Linux after a 20 year hiatus.

haha - but after a short while all will smell it. i was talking only about the downside feeding other commercial sites - feeding private networks is a thing i’m looking for too …

adsbexchange.com is unique in that it is unfiltered (including military), and will give you info from the FAA Registration DB about any of the planes you are tracking.

I agree that FlightAware has the most professional software implementation of all the sites. They do it right.

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I started with this hobby just last month… I find FA a good place for the hobby. After posting some question on FR24 … I dont like how the admin response to a newbie. I do like there phone App but i most like the web details of FA.

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I don’t think feeding the other sites is a mistake, rather they may offer experiences or show capabilities/features that people like or dislike, which leads to opportunity and innovation elsewhere.

I started out using ADSB# to feed ADSB Scope. It was entirely local and ran on a Windows machine, but it was cool for what it was (“hey, I’m tracking live aircraft in my vicinity!”). I think along the way somewhere I looked at the ADSBHub feed to do more than local and begin sharing.

From there I realized it’d be great to have a solution that was always on and thus low power, and I found dump1090 and soon after PiAware to share with others what I was seeing. That was great until wanting more GUI capability than ADSB Scope, so I played with PlanePlotter and VRS, settling on VRS and finding a great application which led me to feed VRS-World.com.

I share that only to show you don’t know how good you’ve got it until you look back on where you’ve been. FA have definitely developed and offer a great tool, with plenty of support behind it, and flexibility and ease of use. I’m sure something else will be along in a year or two as more interest in this hobby grows.

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I started out in ADSB about 5 years or so ago with Feeding Flightaware from Plane Plotter up until last year when I dove into Raspberry Pi3 and Flightaware and ABCD567 and a few other folks here on the forums.I had read I did feed FR24 for a while but when I re-imaged my SD card a while back I did not reinstall FR24 software. I find that Flightaware website and information provided is the best and perfectly suited for me. The support and forums are the best and with everyone involved, I have learned a lot about the hobby to include Raspberry Pi.

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