Integration of air traffic data?


   I wonder if it is a practical idea to integrate air traffic data with all the other data we track in the GCS and the OSD. Data seems to be available. I don't see a complete solution in hand but some pieces are there., It looks like there is a growing standard for position reporting (ADS-B) and you can buy a receiver that will allow you to track air traffic in the area. This will only track aircraft that are equipped with ADS-B, but that is in growing numbers and  is more prevalent in Europe.  There is other data available too, from the FAA, that covers aircraft based on Radar and transponders (I think)  for that data there is a 5 min delay that limits its usefulness.

Pictured above is a nifty item, reminds me of the 3DR radios!

This is an example of a receiver that can be connected to a laptop and display a map of local traffic. I'm sure it could easily be hacked and the data turned into waypoints.

There are several networks and software available to allow you to contribute data as well as receive data even if you do not have a receiver.  This can work similar to how the network works for hams using APRS.  To me, this seems to be a next logical step for hobbyists who are using altitudes higher than a few hundred feet.

I wonder if the drone community as a hold has an interest and see it as being practical as something that could increase safety, or is this a "dude" idea?

If you would like to learn more, here are a few links i found:

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  • Richard, I made an updated blog post demonstrating an air traffic overlay on OSD, see

  • This looks promising, and I look forward to seeing this technology being perfected for use on tav hobby craft.  My usage right now doesn't really call for it as I am typically under 400 feet and 1500 feet or less from my takeoff point. But I am interested in long range systems as well, just haven't gone there yet. I would like to both send a beacon out so I can be avoided, and would also like to see in my OSD, any traffic that I need be aware of. That would be pretty cool!

  • I've received ADS-B on an AR.Drone:

    And this video shows overlaying ADS-B traffic on an AR.Drone camera feed (you could do the same thing with FPV OSD):

    Cheap ADS-B on amateur drones — Lemondronor
    ADS-B is the name of a radio transponder system used by aircraft to broadcast their position, velocity and other information to other aircraft and t…
  • Ah, I think that is Wisly Airfield, which is disused.

  • Achtually. I read the map wrong. The Heathrow airspace is of course the flattened oval over Heathrow.

    I looked at the circular area labled Ockham and assigned the wrong label to it.

    That is good I think. What am I looking at there? Which rules apply? I could not really tell from the legend.

    Looks like the circles around Airports like Biggin Hill right next to it, but I don't think Ockham is actually a Airport.

  • Oh bloody hell. Good that you told me that.

    One field I went a few times is practically under EDG-ASH (Nav point?)

    There you occasionally get small jets coming down to Farnborough. They sneak up on you. (They probably vector over exactly that point)

    I fly on a military shooting range there which is lined by trees. Large as a few football fields. But yea, probably really not such a great area.

    I actually live in Guildford (yellow mass east of Farnborough) right in Heathrow's huge airspace.

    Flying there is actually a bit safer. Because the area is hilly, planes don't go down too far.

    We get the occasional VFR pilot, but they are easy to avoid.

    I promise, I stay out of the news. :)

  • @Tilman: is an excellent source of aeronautical charts. The notations can be confusing for non-pilots; the FAA has an explanation of VFR terms and symbols which is helpful.

    To simplify things, planes flying VFR (non instrument) may fly in Class G airspace, which starts at 1500' AGL (feet above ground level) and stops anywhere another airspace class starts. Any airspace which is not Class G requires clearance from air traffic control to enter or take off in.

    Farnborough looks like this:

    • There is a sector of Class B airspace over the whole area which starts at 3500' MSL (feet above sea level). This will force VFR traffic to fly below it closer to the ground there.
    • There is Class E airspace around the airport itself and also around the small airport at Blackbushe right next to it. Planes can fly literally down to ground level in this airspace.
    • There is a huge sector of Class D airspace around Heathrow which is literally only a stone's throw from Farnborough. This is controlled airspace down to ground level, and planes will be flying wherever ATC tells them to, which could be anywhere.

    Long story short, you're in remarkably dangerous airspace, and it would be smart to figure out your limits before you end up on the news.  

  • Great comments, also very good post Armin, great source of info.  

    I enjoy the FPV side of this hobby, so naturally, when goggled, it would be nice to have this data represented in waypoints in the OSD. I can imagine that the data could be rendered as moving waypoints, with a iconic symbol, with speed and altitude and with breadcrumbs so you could determine the path easily. (I don't ask for much do I?)  I realize there is a limit to how much info can be displayed on such a small screen as you have in goggles, so this might be difficult, but I can just imagine how MinumOSD displays an amazing amount of information and possibly could do this too if the data is in the MAVlink stream.

  • Armin, Thanks for that. Really cool!
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