This is my ‘how to’ post for feeding data to flightradar24.com with a RaspberryPi, a simple digital TV tuner USB stick and some freely available software. If you don’t particularly want to feed data, you can still see a lovely output of nearby aircraft with their altitude, speed, callsign and other information [ steps 1 - 6 ].
Equipment I used
- Digital USB tuner - RTL-SDR, DVB-T USB Stick Set with RTL2832U & R820T
- RaspberryPi model B with 8GB Class 4 SD card
The operating system I used to setup my feed to flightradar was Raspbian GNU/Linux 7 . If you are not sure which operating system you are running, login to your Pi and run the following command.
Step by step setup
This section runs through the installation and configuration of the software and tools you need to get you up and running.
- You have a full backup of your RaspberryPi and you don’t care if the following steps break your installations and you need to install afresh.
- You fully read and understand all the instructions PRIOR TO ATTEMPTING ANY STEPS there may be mistakes or errors in my commands which you should spot and notify me of
- The RaspberryPi has the operating system Raspbian on it of at least version 7
- You’re RaspberryPi is a model B with internet connectivity outbound
- You have a clearish view of the sky where you can place the antenna, or a USB extension cable to allow it to be placed on a window sill
1. Plug in the USB stick
Pretty self explanatory, plug in the USB stick and attach the antenna, placing the antenna on a windowsill or somewhere with a view of the sky.
2. Login to your PI
Next you need to login to your Pi using SSH, from a Windows machine you can do this using putty, or if you are on a linux box or Mac, you can use the terminal application.
3. Create the software user
If you would like to keep your system nice and tidy, create a user to run the software as (you can safely skip this step if you are happy to run the software as your normal unprivileged user account e.g. pi)
Now you must log back into the box as the flightdata user.
4. Download the software
In order to get the data we want, we need a few different applications which are freely available from github.
5. Build the software required
Build the rtl-sdr software using the following commands, see the RTL-SDR build page for further information.
Build the dump1090 sofware
6. Blacklist the module to make it work
Simply run the command below as root or run the sudo -s command [listed below] before executing the commands that follow.
7. Reboot the system
Run the following command to reboot the box
8. Test the receiver software
Now you should be able to simply run the application and see some data from your reciever. Login to your flightdata user, or your pi user (Depending on what you did in step 2 above).
You should now see the output on the screen (similar to the above) from the reciever listing some visible aircraft, their altitude, callsign etc, if not something is wrong and you need to re-check the instructions above.
9. Bonus points! Feeding flightradar24.com
Contact the flightradar team to get a sharing key, e-mail email@example.com . The team will ask you for some details and your decimal co-ordinates which you can easily get from google maps or use something simple like http://itouchmap.com/latlong.html to find it.