There’s been a lot of talk over the past few months about all the new ideas being “on their way”. Can the team give us some idea when or will they still be “on their way” in 3/6/9/12 months time?
Many of the requests “on the way” are complex and require changes to the infrastructure and plenty of behind the scenes changes, so lots of things that may seem like a simple interface change require a lot of work before the front-end team can even begin implementing an interface. Additionally, everything we design involves a planning team beforehand to ensure that developments can be multi-purpose and incorporated into future products and offerings that we intend to begin offering in 2006. Once we have a new feature available, we have an internal QA team as well as an external closed beta group to ensure that every FlightAware service is easy to use, fast, and valuable to the end-user.
That said, the vast majority of the organization’s time lately has actually been spent on growing our “web farm” and datacenter infrastructure to handle the increase in load. This is a thankless job, really, because our existing users have seen no improvement in performance in a couple months yet we’re doubling the number of requests per second every two weeks. You can probably imagine that scaling to handle our hundreds of thousands of users and tens of thousands of members (with thousands of users using the site at any given time) is no easy chore and the calculations & considerations that go into it are tricky and involve capital investments in our infrastructure to deploy.
Generally, you’re going to have to hang around and see the big improvements as they roll in. However, I can tell you that you’ll see historical flight tracks show up in January and much more in the first quarter of 2006 including plenty of things that haven’t even been discussed here.
Daniel, is there some particular place we go to in order to find what additions/upgrades have been brought online for general use and when it happened, or do we find them rather haphazardly?
For instance, the pop-up location labels for airports are a great addition that was high on my wish list. You guys did it, but I didn’t realize the capability was there until someone asked a question about it in a discussion forum.
It seems to me that the “Announcements” forum could be more actively used in this regard.
Toby, we keep the list internally but have opted not to make an announcement for every minor feature. We’ll try to compile a list and put them our regularly when there’s a handful of notable improvements. I understand the problem although I think generally, the improvements are more noticable unlike hover pop-ups.
P.S. You can now hover over an airspeed in knots to see it in Mach or vice versa.
Great tip on the airspeed. I just checked it on a dassault falcon I’m currently tracking to Grand Case: .8 Mach. Very cool! Can you give us some of these update tips in the announcements like Toby said? As always, you’re doing a great job.
Hmmm… the knots/mach thing does kind of stimulate my curiousity…
My understanding was that the airspeed/mach conversion requires temperature as an input. What process to you use to get mach?
P.S. BTW, very cool site.
The speed of sound does depend on temperature and for now we’re using the 1976 US Standard Atmosphere to estimate temperatures aloft. In the future we may switch to using the actual reported temperatures aloft, but the current method usually isn’t too far off.