The ULTIMATE Search


#1

The ULTIMATE Search …

for searching active and historic flight tracks:

FROM date/time TO date/time
*FROM latitute TO latitude
*FROM longitude TO longitude
*Alternatively,
FROM lat/lon TO lat/lon
(for describing diagonally opposite corners of a box)

This morning I heard the loud jets of a commercial flight, most likely from KDFW, at a few thousand feet above cloud cover. I had no visual sighting.

I’m probably about three minutes flight time from DFW so I had to wait a short while before I could look up departures between 1010 and 1017. That narrowed it down to about 9 flights. Then I started checking lat/lons in the track log. It comes down to two flights, one to the south of me at 8000 ft and one north of me at 11000 ft.

On the flight map, neither flight would have been labelled because of aircraft density in the area.

A time/lat/lon search would have quickly shown me the two flights and maybe added if the flight came out of KDAL or was a (vertically) closer overflight at a higher altitude than I estimated.

Searching flight track logs for a single lat/lon is hit-or-miss. The moment a plane is directly overhead may be 30 seconds after the last track lat/lon entry and 30 seconds before the next one. I can’t expect FA to do the positional interpolations between data points to make a one-point search work. How close does the interpolation have to come to my one point to constitute a search ‘hit’? I’ll play with my window lat/lon dimensions and find a box size that works best for me.

The “ultimate” search … food for thought. Anyone care to comment?


#2

Sorry mate - gut reaction is this is waayy too complex for your average user even if functionality is there.
Would there really be much demand?
Would you need a GPS to know the position of your computer before you start the above process?
Wouldnt a scanner be of more use and more fun??

The ultimate search surely includes the much anticipated search by airline/airline type feature, all AAL flights for example or all FDX B727.
My 0.2c

BR IN (UK)


#3

Sorry mate - gut reaction is this is waayy too complex for your average user even if functionality is there.
Would there really be much demand?

I think there would be a demand. When you’re at your computer or outside in your yard and you hear or see a plane overhead, you want to know what it is and where it’s going to or coming from. FA is 6 minutes delayed, so there’s no instant gratification. Sometimes I can be at my computer, sometimes not. But even an hour later, I know the time and the location. Near a busy airport (KDFW/KDAL), it’s not certain that the right flight will immediately stand out. Even on the map, with 6-minute delay, aircraft are so dense that the ID blocks are suppressed. You can’t easily determine from a flight track log at one-minute increments which planes fly overhead and which do not.

The search merely gives a location box and time window and asks which flights have coordinates within the box at the right time. That ought to be far easier to use than to program.

Would you need a GPS to know the position of your computer before you start the above process?

No. I used Google Earth. With the lat/lon grid overlaid (and maybe even without it), GE gives me lat/lon of my mouse pointer as I move it over my house. I only have to do that once.

Wouldnt a scanner be of more use and more fun??

Scanners are always fun, but more so if you can identify a plane you saw overhead.

The ultimate search surely includes the much anticipated search by airline/airline type feature, all AAL flights for example or all FDX B727.

Surely, “ultimate” could include that and possibly more – like all diverted flights. The details differ only by a matter of opinion. I suppose what we’d each like is a multi-layer search capability. “Pick and Choose” A lot of sites have such things – usually they refer to them as “Advanced” searches.

My 0.2c to add to your 0.2c.


#4

The “ultimate search” would be as IanNic64 says.


#5

I think I have got my head around Tobyz1’s suggestion - do you mean a box of airspace (or just a lat/long cordinate) near you that you can retrospectively look back at and see what has been through??
Interesting concept, part of the ultimate tracker maybe but I am still not sure if its for all or many - perhaps computing power better used elsewhere and better give the team *some *time off!

The 0.2c collection grows…

IN (UK)


#6

I do mean a “box” of air space. It seemed easier to search for track log coordinates (within a time window, which narrows the data volume to be searched) in a box than to define a lat/lon point and radius and then to compute whether a track point falls within that circle.

With a lat/lon “box” and time window, there’d be no math computing. It’s merely a three-step [1) lat, 2) lon, 3) time] True/False query of flight tracks, saving those with three Trues.

(so) that you can retrospectively look back at and see what has been through??

That too! If I’m out at a restaurant and see some unusual plane overhead and can’t get back to the computer for an hour, the flight map does no good whatsoever. Then I have to guess at an airport and a time. For KDFW that’s a real task.

With the “box” search noted above, I’ll get my actual lat/lon from Google Earth, then estimate the box coordinates to search for such that one track point falls in the box. I know the time. If FA narrows this down to two or three planes, I’d be thrilled.