First, thank you for this site, FlightAware. Fantastic stuff.
My feature request/idea: In a request from last October, someone suggested using Google Maps as the base for the maps. The FlightAware staffer’s response as that GM and VirtualEarth, “don’t provide the flexibility we wanted (to overlay nexrad, plot flight tracks, overlay text, etc.)” I humbly submit that the free, open-source NASA program World Wind (that should say, “World Wind,” in case my url doesn’t work) would be able to do all that stuff in near-real-time. It would take some work, clearly, but it could be done.
I’m not a big enough World Wind geek (yet) to understand the details, but I’ve spent enough time yapping with the friendly developers in their discussion forums to know that it’s all possible. The WW near-real-time earthquake tracker, for example, uses rss feeds to get earthquake data. I’m pretty sure the global real-time clouds plugin works similarly. Porting out all the data in FlightAware every six minutes as an rss feed might be ridiculous, but on a flight-by-flight or airport-by-airport basis… maybe a little less ridiculous? Plus, if FlightAware staff were interested in making it work, you could probably streamline the plugin-building process by providing the FlightAware data in a more “friendly” fashion than NOAA or USGS do for those other plugins.
Anyway, that’s my request. Thanks again for the great website.