Location Based Services

Aircraft tracker for local surveillance

SWAIR ADS-B Aircraft Tracker is a demonstrator developed by Bluecover within the SWAIR project that analyses the air traffic at the surroundings of an airport. It uses a receiver installed at the airport, to collect and process ADS-B signals, and an application to view live flights, check details of incoming messages (including accuracy and integrity of GNSS signals), replay past flights and produce statistics.

How does ADSB protocol work?

ADS-B consists of two different services (“ADS-B Out” and “ADS-B In”) that can replace radar technology as the primary surveillance method for controlling aircraft worldwide.

ADS-B In” enables each aircraft to receive Flight and Traffic Information Services (FIS-B and TIS-B) and other ADS-B data such as direct communication from nearby aircrafts.

ADS-B Out” allows aircrafts to periodically broadcast information about itself, such as identification, current position, altitude, and velocity, through an onboard transmitter. It provides air traffic controllers with real-time position information that is, in most cases, more accurate than the information from current radar-based systems.

What are the main features of our system?

Our system captures the “ADS-B Out” broadcasted signals using local receivers, that can be either public or private. The regular users are allowed to access only the public receivers, while advanced users could have permissions to access their private receivers, typically installed on their facilities.

Live Map: tracks in real time the aircrafts around local receivers (current public receivers are available at Lisbon and Hanoi). It also allows viewing the details about a flight and listen to live communication between ATC and pilots.

Messages: displays continuously the latest ADSB messages received, providing general message information to public users (such as ICAO, Callsign and location) and all the details to registered users (~80 fields). When analysing a message, you can obtain information about meteorology, accuracy, navigation, and tracking. It is also possible to download a csv file with messages.

Replay: the users can replay the past flights on a map, by selecting the period of time and/or specific flight callsign. This function can also play fast forward, pause, rewind or play backwards.

Alerts: registered users can subscribe alerts to be received via email (like emergency status, overspeed, etc…). The alerts are based on customizable rules defined by advanced users.

Statistics: provides overall and detailed statistics of a receiver, such as accuracy, meteorological and flight statistics are available. It’s also possible to analyse the historical statistics from previous months.

Receivers: they can be public or private with access permissions. Regular users are allowed typically to see the public receivers while Advanced users can manage their own receivers, making them public or private, and track your own data.

Why to use? For what purpose?

The system is useful for entities that want to track fight information for specific domains, such as monitoring GNSS quality and environment traffic analysis. Some use case examples are provided below:

  • Aerodromes can monitor the GNSS signal conditions around it and also collect usage statistics
  • Municipalities and environmental organizations can analyse aircraft traffic estimate environment figures, detect infringements rules or predict impacts.
  • Aviation schools and pilots can use the replay function to further analyse their flight path, etc.

Comparing with other ADSB products, our solution is flexible to analyse detailed information and extract customizable technical reports.

How to start?

You can start trying the product by accessing the information from a public receiver available at Swairadsb App. On this free access, it is recommended making a user registration for using extended features.
You can become an advanced controller user, if you have your own Decoding Receiver, in case you want to cover a specific area, keep your data private or process yourself the messages collected. The Receiver can work with a local application, integrated with Swairadsb App or used together with SWAIR Portal. You can request a quote and order Decoding Receiver by making a inquire to info@bluecover.pt.

Vitor Menino and Ruben Vaz are the authors of the this article and the developers SWAIR ADS-B Aircraft Tracker.