ADS-B Exchange is the world’s largest public source of unfiltered flight data, leveraging the power of community to deliver flight tracking data globally. Airspace Africa spoke to ADB-S Exchange founder and President Dan Streufert to get an insight into the world of Flight Tracking and what makes his website unique.
Briefly tell us about your background and how ADS-B Exchange came about.
When I was younger, my goal was to be a career commercial pilot. As I got older, I became more and more involved in computers and IT, which changed my path. However, the passion for aviation never went away. I took flight lessons at my local airport and in the late 1990s, I received my private pilot certificate here in the US.
With my primary career still in IT, I created the site in 2016 as simply a hobby project that would put together ADS-B data feeds run by aviation enthusiasts from various locations into a single map display. It grew from there with 8,500 (and growing) aviation enthusiasts sending data from their locations into our map display to be shared with everyone via globe.adsbexchange.com .
Why do you think websites such as yours are important to the global aviation community and how is ADB-S Exchange different from other flight tracking sites?
As a group, flight tracking sites provide real time (or close to it) and historical flight information. Our site is slightly different from many of the other sites out there in at least a couple of ways. First, we do not censor or remove any aircraft from our display. If they are broadcasting a signal and we receive it, it is displayed. Secondly, our primary audience is not necessarily people who want to know if their flight is on time, but rather people who are curious about what is flying over them or “what’s in the sky today” – anywhere on the globe.
Who else finds your data useful?
It’s across the board. Airlines, air charter services, air traffic management, data analytics & data visualization, drone operators, energy analysts, financial companies, governments, firefighting, media, universities, search and rescue organizations, and other entities use our data on a regular basis. However, unlike other sites owned by large corporations or massive defense contractors, our primary mission is to provide a place for hobbyists and aviation enthusiasts to “browse the skies” and see what’s going on.
How does it all work and how large is your coverage today?
We cover the globe processing over 1 million signals per second from 8500+ volunteers around the world. While we have excellent coverage in North America and Western Europe, we need more enthusiasts willing to feed data from other regions, especially within Africa. If any of the readers are interested in being part of the community of feeders, please feel free to contact us and we will do our best to help get them set up.
To illustrate our coverage, here is a map of where we’ve detected planes in the last 48 hours. As you can see, more coverage is needed in certain areas. This is especially important for seeing low-flying aircraft.
Most feeders choose to use a Raspberry pi miniature computer and an SDR (software defined radio) USB stick to contribute their data. An outdoor antenna is recommended, but not required. If you wish to participate, more information is available here: https://www.adsbexchange.com/how-to-feed/
What are you hoping to achieve with ADS-B Exchange and what are your plans for the future?
Essentially, we want to be the go-to destination for aircraft-watchers to receive and observe all types of air traffic around the world. In the future, we are also looking at incorporating more types of aeronautical data into our platform.