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This is a work in progress

There are some major fixes and cleanup that need to happen before a release:

  • Everything is a grab bag of C and C++, need to more consistently modernize
  • A full refactor, especially View.cpp, necessary for many of the new features below.
  • A working Android build, as this is the best way to run this on portable hardware.

There are also a lot of missing features:

  • Map improvements
    • Labels, different colors/line weights for features
    • Tile prerenderer for improved performance
  • In-application menus for view options and configuration
  • Theming/colormaps (important as this is primarily intended to be eye candy!)
  • Integration with handheld features like GPS, battery monitors, buttons/dials, etc.


Tested and working on Ubuntu 18.04, Raspbian Stretch / Buster, Windows Subsystem for Linux (with Ubuntu 18.04), and Mac

  1. Install build essentials
sudo apt-get install build-essential
  1. Install SDL and RTL-SDR libraries
sudo apt-get install libsdl2-dev libsdl2-ttf-dev libsdl2-gfx-dev librtlsdr-dev libgdal-dev

Note: On Raspbian the SDL2 package requires X to be running. See the Raspberry Pi section for notes on running from the terminal and other improvements.

  1. Download and build viz1090
cd ~
git clone
cd viz1090
make clean; make
  1. Download and process map data
sudo apt install python3 python3-pip
pip3 install fiona tqdm shapely

This will produce files for map and airport geometry, with labels, that viz1090 reads. If any of these files don't exist then visualizer will show planes and trails without any geography.

The default parameters for mapconverter should render reasonably quickly on a Raspberry Pi 4. See the mapconverter section below for other options and more information about map sources.

  1. (Windows only)

As WSL does not have an X server built in, you will need to install a 3rd party X server, such as

  • run Xlaunch from the start menu
  • Uncheck "Use Native openGL"
  • Add parameter -ac (WSL 2 only)
  • Open the Ubuntu WSL terminal
  • Specify the X display to use (WSL 1) export DISPLAY=:0
  • or for (WSL 2) export DISPLAY=$(cat /etc/resolv.conf | grep nameserver | awk '{print $2}'):0
  • Start viz1090 as described below.


  1. Start dump1090 ( locally in network mode:
dump1090 --net
  1. Run viz1090
./viz1090 --fullsceen --lat [your latitude] --lon [your longitude]

viz1090 will open an SDL window set to the resolution of your screen.


Argument Description
--server [domain name or ip] Specify a dump1090 server
--port [port number] Specify dump1090 server port
--metric Display metric units
--lat Specify your latitude in degrees
--lon Specify your longitude in degrees
--screensize [width] [height] Specify a resolution, otherwise use resolution of display
--uiscale [scale] Scale up UI elements by integer amounts for high resolution screen
--fullscreen Render fullscreen rather than in a window


The best map data source I've found so far is This has a lot of useful GIS data, but not airport runways, which you can get from the FAA Aeronautical Data Delivery Service (

I've been using these files:

The bash script will download (so long as the links don't break) and convert these. Alternatively, you can pass shapefiles and other arguments to directly


Argument Description
--mapfile shapefile for main map
--mapnames shapefile for map place names
--airportfile shapefile for airport runway outlines
--airportnames shapefile for airport IATA names
--minpop minimum population to show place names for (defaults to 100000)
--tolerance" map simplification tolerance (defaults to 0.001, which works well on a Raspberry Pi 4 - smaller values will produce more detail but slow down the map refresh rate)


This software was originally intended for Raspberry Pi devices, and it is currently optimized for the Raspberry Pi 4 with the following configuration:

If you want to print the case in the GIF shown above, you can download it here.

If running as a front end only, with a separate dump1090 server, the best option is to use an Android phone, such as the Pixel 2, which significantly outperforms a Raspberry Pi 4.

viz1090 has been tested on other boards such as the UP Core and UP Squared, but these boards have poor performance compared to a Raspberry Pi 4, along with worse software and peripheral support, so they are not recommended. viz1090 with a low resolution map will run on these boards or even a Raspberry Pi Zero, so these remain options with some tradeoffs.

Of course, a variety of other devices work well for this purpose - all of the development so far has been done on a touchscreen Dell XPS laptop.


viz1090 is largely based on dump1090 (Malcom Robb, Salvatore Sanfilippo)


A visualizer for dump1090 ADSB data






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