I like how you guys put a little plane icon instead of a dot on your maps. Very cool.
Of course, you’ll notice that it is correctly oriented based on the aircraft’s heading and the track has also been made thinner.
Thanks! I’m glad someone noticed. Yesterday I promised we’d be imaging those airplane icons showing flights’ headings within two weeks and in a fit of late night coding and debugging it took us, oh, I guess about six and a half hours to complete that and roll it out.
Lots more to do as always, but we were so excited as it came together that the whole team stayed up until about 430 AM to knock it out…
Just noticed it today. NICE.
In the past I was always trying to figure out which end of the line was the heading.
Now it’s clear.
Is the “height” of the plane icon related to the altitude of the aircraft in flight? It is early, but it seems like the aircraft at cruise appear higher on the maps than the arrivals or depatures.
I noticed the same on Monday–very cool (including the shadows).
Yes, the shadow that started appearing last night represents the altitude.
To amplify Daniel’s response, the airplane shadows do represent the altitude. A one-pixel shadow represents FL000-FL059 as reported by the FAA, two-pixels FL060-FL119, three FL120-FL179, four FL180-FL239, five FL240-FL299, and six for FL300 and above.
I list this in the “clever hack” category. I thought it up yesterday and implemented it in three lines of code. (Gotta keep these young guns on their toes! ) Seriously, when you can do stuff like that so easily, it really gives you a sense that you’re on track with your underlying design and approach.
As to the shadows, we’re not married to them. If people hate 'em, we’ll get rid of 'em. The small airport maps are way too cluttered as it is, and these shadows don’t help, but we working on a number of things to address that. After seeing it in action, though, I do feel like it gives a pretty intuitive indication of altitude, and I particularly like seeing a long line of aircraft descending for LAX, etc.
I say keep it. It really doesn’t clutter the display at all and adds a neat touch to the look. Quite the effect for such little effort!
Nice icons. I like the showdow as well. I have a Question, it seems with some flights, the icon has turned perpendicular to the flight path. This appears at regular intervals during the flight. To date, I have witnessed this in Canadian airspace. It makes it appear that the flight is making a hard right or hard left turn. Is this just a bug and if it is what is the cause?
Thanks and great site.
The shadows look great. I can appreciate the coding and “hacking” that went into them. However, I really can’t tell much difference between the different pixel sizes. In any case, I look at the altitude in the flight info block because I’d rather have teh current altitude rather than an altitude range.
That’s the long way of saying get rid of them.
Love the shadows as well. Very cool effect.
Karl’s post from another thread:
*I’ve looked into this. In all the cases I’ve examined, this occurs when we get two radar hits in the same minute from different radar sites. On an east-west flight, for instance, the second hit may come from a different radar and show the position at the same longitude but with a slightly different latitude. Hence you’ll see the plane appear to be turned 90 degrees from its route of flight and then, a minute later, back on course.
We need to study ways of trying to filter this – we know which radar station reported each position. Just riffing off the top of my head here, but if we have several hits in a row from one site and then get one from a different site that has a substantially different altitude and a position that doesn’t follow the track, either to drop that hit or mark it provisional or something. The problem is of course distinguishing between that and when an aircraft is actually moving from one radar’s coverage to another. Also we don’t want to induce any additional delays in the processing pipeline. *
Love the shadows!!! I might even like to applify the effect a little. I use the active desktop and have ORD as my “live” wallpaper, the shadows give it an erie 3D effect…very cool on a large format.
Keep these kick _ss enhancements coming.
all the hard work is showing!
I like the shadows, too. I don’t think they overly clutter the map, and will even less so when zooming becomes available.
If you get complaints about them, consider making it a configuration option rather than doing away with them altogether. Intial response is that most people like them (with one “nay”).
I confess I don’t like the shadows. Until I logged into the forum today I thought they were a display bug. I live in very crowded airspace (SF Bay Area) and anything that clutters the display is, to my mind, undesirable, at least until the zooming maps are implemented (which is my very top request, because at peak periods here about half or more of the flights don’t have info blocks due to crowding).
So, I’d be very grateful if it were a configurable option. Although I really hope no other developments delay implementation of the zooming maps.
I like the shadows for the 3-D feel. I would like to be able to filter out traffic not heading to or from the airport I’m watching to reduce the clutter.
I agree that the default airport maps in crowded airspaces are essentially unreadable and that is the next issue we are going to address as the next step toward general-purpose panning, zooming, etc.
FYI, all of the server-side work for implementing panning, zooming, and filtering has been completed. We are working with the web team to define and create the interfaces, which is going on with a lot of exciting work they’re doing that I won’t spill the beans on.
We also expect that once we have that, you guys are going to pound the heck out of it, greatly increasing the number of map requests that we service, so we’re laying in the physical infrastructure to be ready for that as well.
There’s a lot that we have to orchestrate to bring these new features to you guys, but that’s what we’re about, both as software developers and aviation enthusiasts.