Track Flights in 3D for FREE using Google Earth

Ok, so the concept of tracking a flight REAL TIME (or as much real-time as needed) is pretty sweet. The concept of real time really does not exist in the digital world. There is always going to be some latency. It is gust important to make sure that lag is not more than we need in our application. If you ever have time, look into real-time computing, it can be pretty fun to research.

:)

So you can pay register for this service (using Google Earth from other websites), or you can follow the instructions and do it for FREE. Alright, to get this to work you need to follow these steps:

  1. Download and install Google Earth
  2. Go to the following website http://www.aeroseek.com/webtrax/fboweb.html
  3. Select your Airline and Flight Number and click GO
  4. Click the Google Earth Feed button
  5. Save the file (preferably to the desktop)
  6. Find the file and rename it to flightnumber.KML
  7. Open Google Earth and select File > Open…
    OR, double click on the KML file
  8. Now in your Places area you can toggle between specific items to display
  9. Double click on the new item in the Places box, and TRACK YOUR FLIGHT

NOTE: The update interval for pinging the flight location is defaulted to 1 minute. To change this preference, right click on the item in the Places explorer and select Properties. Go to the Refresh tab and change the View-Based Refresh value.

If you still want to track a flight, but don’t care if it is 3D, then you can use www.fboweb.com. This is the same place where the data feed is coming from for our KML file that we created above.

Sources:
http://www.fboweb.com
http://www.aeroseek.com
http://www.wikipedia.org

Updated (January 23, 2008)
If you would like to use fboweb.com’s service and do not want to flood your inbox, then may I recommend you read my previous post on how to Register on Websites Using a Temporary Inbox.

Another handy tool is www.bugmenot.com.

Also fboweb.com’s KML file adds some neat enhancements like what other aircraft are active near the aircraft being tracked. It also keeps a running track of the flight. Both features can make it worth the registration. Your choice. Enjoy!

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4 Responses

  1. if you think that’s cool, then you’ll be blown away by this:

    http://virtualearth.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!2BBC66E99FDCDB98!10033.entry

  2. OK, so I tried the link from the previous comment at home, and I was “NOT” impressed at all. The tracking was horrible in 2D, and the 3D was not working for me. I know the site is in Beta, so they may still be working out some kinks. I will have to try it again in the future. For now, I will be sticking to the above method for my flight tracking.

    One problem I realized I was having was that you need to use Internet Explorer (which I don’t like to use), I prefer to use Firefox. Second, my laptop’s graphic card is under powered to run Microsoft Virtual Earth. iFly really needs to make the feature available in Firefox as well as IE, at a minimum iFly should tell the user to switch the browser to IE.

    So my recommendations would be these. If you already have Microsoft Virtual Earth installed on your computer, then I would recommend using http://www.ifly.com. If you already have Google Earth installed, then I would follow the post steps above. Either way is pretty nice.

    Thanks for the comment Maria C

  3. Underpowered laptop GPU…Scott I thought I knew you better. After dealing with headaches of an integrated GPU in college, I made sure my next laptop would have a powerful dedicated GPU. Luckily for me I was able to get a Dell Inspiron 1705 with a T7200 Core 2 Duo, 2GB of RAM, and a 256MB Geforce 7900GS for $1,200 before they replaced the model with the 1720 (which has the weaker 8600M). Way off topic, but I’d thought I’d give my 2 cents…

    Also, huge Firefox fan here…

  4. You can also track commercial flights with GPS applications and see them through Google Earth afterwards:

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