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A MagicMirror Module for displaying current flights in the sky above you!
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README.md

MagicMirror Module: FlightsAbove

MagicMirror2 DocStatus GitHub last commit Maintenance Average time to resolve an issue

Display what is currently flying above your location

STATUS: Version Date Maintained?
Working 1.0.4 2018-03-13 YES

What is this module doing?

MMM-FlightsAbove is a MagicMirror module for displaying what is currently flying around in the airspace above some location. The location is defined by the latitude and longitude of your location, and a radius in kilometers, which determine the maximum distance to which you want to detect aircraft.

However, because maps you see and use are flat and squared, internally the application is using a boundary box (BB) to determine the area of interest. The BB sides are just the latitutes and longitudes of the map. So to easily calculate the BB values given a geographical location, we have included a tool that does the calculation for you. Use this to copy/paste your BB into your configuration file.

The flight data is provided by FlightRadar24, but could be easily extended to use other sources as well.

The specific flight data items available from the API that you can display are:

Data Item Description
id Unique F24 id
modes Mode-S Transponder code: 6-digit [hex] is a 24-bit ICAO issued code
latitude in decimal degrees
longitude in decimal degrees
bearing in [degrees]
altitude in [feet]
speed in [knots]
squawk Mode-3/A Transponder code: 4-digit [octal] is the "Squawk" ATC assigned code
radar F24 "radar" data source (ADS-B, MLAT, RADAR (ATC feed), FLARM, "ESTIMATED") designator
model ICAO Aircraft Type Designator
registration ICAO Aircraft (tail) registration number
timestamp Timestamp [Unix/POSIX/epoch]
origin Departure Airport IATA
destination Destination Airport IATA
flight IATA Flight Id
ground Airplane is "onGround": [0/1]
climb "Rate of Climb" (RoC) is a vertical speed [ft/m]
callsign ICAO ATC call signature
glider Aircraft is a glider: [0/1] (There are usually no or very few gliders registered on earth!)

Example Screenshots

Module Screenshot:

Full

(From the MMM-Tabulator Demo.)

Here is a screenshot when using the config option: homeIata: "VNO" and compassHeading: true to highlight flights with the origin or destination airport given by the IATA code "VNO", and show the compass heading in text form and not in degrees.

Full

Using the config option footerLegend: true will enable a footer with the color legend.

Full

The MagicRadarBB.html Boundary Box Calculator Screenshot:

Full


Dependencies

This module depend on the following npm packages:

  • jquery - is a fast, small, and feature-rich JavaScript library
  • jquery-ui - for user interface interactions, effects, widgets, and themes
  • tabulator - for an overkill use of JSON to HTML table generation
  • flightradar24-client - the API used to get FR24 flight data

These are also listed in the package.json file and should be installed automatically when using npm. However, those may require other packages.

Compatibility

This module is compatible with other remote control modules such as:

Those allow you to control this module by Voice commands. For example, in Hello-Lucy you can say: "SHOW FLIGHTS" or "HIDE FLIGHTS" to show or hide this module.


Installation

Manual Installation:

cd ~/MagicMirror/modules
git clone https://github.com/E3V3A/MMM-FlightsAbove.git
cd MMM-Tabulator

To install the depdendencies: jquery, jquery-ui and tabulator, do:

npm install jquery --save
npm install jquery-ui-dist --save
npm install jquery.tabulator --save

To install the flightradar24-client (API), use:

npm install flightradar24-client

Alternatively, on a *unix based distribution, you can try to install all the dependencies with the Bash script:

chmod 755 install_deps.sh
./install_deps.sh

Easy Installation [ToDo]:

npm install mmm-flightsabove

Configuration

To configure the FlightsAbove, you need to do the following:

  1. Add the Module to the global MM config.js
  2. Edit the global config to add the 4 lat/lon values for the Boundary Box of your location
  3. [optional] Edit MMM-FlightsAbove.js Tabulator settings to:
    • select & configure the table rows you want to show
    • edit the column formatting to be used
    • select the default Tabulator CSS
  4. [optional] Edit MMM-FlightsAbove.css for your own CSS taste

Add the module to the modules array in the config/config.js file by adding the following section.

{
    module: 'MMM-FlightsAbove',
    header: 'Flights Above',
    position: 'top_left',
    config: {
        header: "Flights Above",          // The module header text, if any. Use: "" to remove.
        compassHeading: true,             // Use a compass direction (NSWE) for the of heading indicator ("45" vs "NE")
        updateInterval: 180,              // [s] Radar scan/ping/update period in secodns [default 3 min]
        maxItems: 10,                     // MAX Number of planes to display [default is 10]
        // The geographical (map) Boundary-Box (BB), from within planes will be shown are given by:
        // the maximim Lat/Lon edges of: [N-lat, W-lon, S-lat, E-lon] - all in decimal degrees.
        radarBBox: [-8.20917,114.62177,-9.28715,115.71243], // "DPS" (Bali Airport) [default]
        //radarLocation: "23.2,54.2",     // [Lat,Lon] - The location of radar center in decimal degrees
        //radarRadius: 60,                // [km] - The maximum distance of planes shown.
        //watchList: "",                  // Alert or Highlight planes/flights/types on this watch list
    }
},
...

You can change this configuration later when you see that it works.


The Boundary Box Coordinates

Unfortunately, the API is operating with a geographical boundary-box (BB), rather than a sphercial radius from a given location. So you need to convert your locations Lat/Lon (in decimal degrees) to the 4 coordinates representing the sides of the BB. These are given by: MaxLat, MinLon, MinLat, MaxLon, or in other words, the north, west, south, east edges.

However, I have provided a simple GoogleMap based tool that make this calculation trivial. Look at the picture above, to see what to expect. To use the tool the first time, do the following:

  1. Have your Google Maps API Key handy. You can get one HERE.
  2. Edit the file: ./tools/MagicRadarBB.html and replacing the text "YOUR_GOOGLE_MAPS_API_KEY" with your key.
  3. Simply point your browser to one of the following URLs:
  4. Enter the Latitude and Longitude in decimal degrees, for your location.
  5. Enter the radius in kilometer, out to which you want to see flights.
  6. [optional] You can also drag the central marker to any point on the map. (Use +/- to zoom in/out.)
  7. Hit Calculate and copy the resulting coordinate text from the FR24 BB textbox into your MM config file.
  8. If you get a blank map, your API key is probaly expired, invalid or over-used.

Eventually, we would like to calculate this automatically in the node_helper.js script. (See issues)

Q: What radius should I use?

A: Since there is little use in displaying planes you cannot see, what you really should be asking is, how far can I see an airplane? The answer obviously depend on where you are, and especially how high you are. If you are down in a valley surrounded by mountains, you can use your trigonometry skills to figure that its probably not much more than 30 km, line of sight (LOS). But if you are on top of a mountain with free horizon, we could be talking about 120 km, at which point the aircraft would just present itself as a tiny spot in the sky. This module is preset at a moderate 60 km LOS.

For an interesting London discussion, see this.

Configuration Options

Option Default Description
header "Flights Above" This Module's header text
compassHeading true Use a compass direction (NSWE) for the of heading indicator ("45" vs "NE")
updateInterval 180 Module data update rate in [seconds]
maxItems* 10 MAX number of planes (table rows) to show
radarBBox [see text] The geographical boundary-box in NW-SE notation [dec.degrees]
radarLocation* [see text] The location of radar center in decimal degrees
radarRadius* [see text] The maximum distance of planes shown
watchList* [see text] Highlight planes/flights/types on watch list
speedunit* "kmh" [kmh,kn] The speed unit
altunit* "m" [m,ft] The Altitude unit
fontsize* "small" [small,medium,large]
itemlist* [see text] List of items (columns) to be shown

* - not yet implemented - ToDo!

The default table columns shown, are: [flight,callsig,to,from,alt,speed,bearing,alt,model,squawk] But there are also: [id,registration,model,modes,radar] available.

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⚠️ Please do not use an updateInterval shorter than ~2 minutes (120 seconds). A too short setting is useless as planes do not move across the visible sky that fast, and no, you will not be able to see F16's or MIG's, as they are not tracked by F24. So please respect the free services provided by the Flightradar24 API. You also risk getting blocked by their servers if you rapid-fire requests. Finally, the services provided by them could break at any time, there are no service guarantees. ⚠️

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Tabulator Configuration

The main part to configure is found under the loadTabulator() function:

...
    flightTable.tabulator({
        height:flightTableHeight,           // [px] Set MAX height of table, this enables the Virtual DOM and improves render speed
        layout:"fitDataFill",               // Resize columns to fit thier data and ensure rows takeup the full table width
        //layout:"fitColumns",              // Resize columns so that they fit perfectly inside the width of the container
        layoutColumnsOnNewData:true,        // Adjust the column width to the data each time you load it into the table
        //headerSort:false,                 // Disable header sorter
        resizableColumns:false,             // Disable manual column resize
        responsiveLayout:true,              // Enable responsive layouts
        placeholder:"Waiting for data...",  // Display message to user on empty table
        initialSort:[                       // Define the sort order:
            {column:"altitude",     dir:"asc"},     // 1'st
            //{column:"flight",     dir:"desc"},    // 2'nd
            //{column:"bearing",    dir:"asc"},     // 3'rd
        ],
        columns:[
            ...
            {title:"Time", field:"timestamp", headerSort:false, sortable:false, visible:false, responsive:1, formatter:"ep2time"},
...

For further details about configuring the many Tabulator options, see MMM-Tabulator and references therein.


Bugs and Warnings

ℹ️ The data provided by the flightradar24-client, is not JSON, even if it resembles it. It is actually an Array of JavaScript objects. For an example of the raw data, look at the demo.json file.

For other bugs, issues, details and updates, please refer to the issue tracker.

Contribution

Feel free to post issues and PR's related to this module.
For all other or general questions, please refer to the MagicMirror Forum.

Credits

Most grateful thanks to:

  • raywo - for clarifying and fixing the API response mechanism
  • tbbear - for helping and clarifying JS Promises
  • fewieden - for helping out in forums and fixing issues

License

GitHub license

(MIT)

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