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Ruby gem for pulling and selectively parsing Vatsim online stations data

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README.md

Vatsim Online

A Ruby gem for selectively pulling, parsing and displaying Vatsim online stations data. Essentially it's a "Who's online" library, capable of displaying online ATC and/or pilots for given airports, areas or globally and to filter by callsign. Stations are returned as objects, exposing a rich set of attributes. Vatsim data is pulled on preset intervals and cached locally to avoid flooding the servers.

Build Status Gemnasium Gem Version Code Climate

Requirements

Ruby 1.9.3 or higher | Supports Ruby 2.0!

Installation

Add this line to your application's Gemfile:

gem 'vatsim_online'

And then execute:

$ bundle

Or install it yourself as:

$ gem install vatsim_online

Usage

This gem provides two public methods:

  • vatsim_online, which can be applied to any string (or variable containing a string) representing a full or partial ICAO code or a comma-separated list of ICAO codes. The provided ICAO code or fragment will be used as a search criteria and matched against the current vatsim data.

  • vatsim_callsign, which can be applied to any string (or variable containing a string) representing a full or partial pilot or ATC callsign or a comma-separated list of callsigns. The provided callsign or fragment will be used as a search criteria and matched against the current vatsim data.

Filter by ICAO code examples

For example if you want to retrieve all active stations (ATC positions and pilots) for Vienna airport (ICAO: LOWW), then you can use:

# Attaching the method directly to a string:
"LOWW".vatsim_online

# Attaching the method directly to a list of ICAOs:
"LOWW, LOWK".vatsim_online

# Attaching the method to a variable containing a string:
icao = "LOWW"
icao.vatsim_online

If you want to retrieve the currently active stations for an entire region (FIR/ARTCC), then you can use the first 2-3 letters of the region's ICAO name. For example if you want to pull all the stations active in Austria (ICAO code for the FIR is LOVV), you can use "LO" as your ICAO search string: all Austrian airports and ATC station callsigns start with "LO":

# Attaching the method directly to a string:
"LO".vatsim_online

# Attaching the method to a variable containing a string:
icao = "LO"
icao.vatsim_online

# Attaching the method to a list of ICAOs:
icao = "LO, LB"
icao.vatsim_online

When parsing the pilot stations for particular airport or area, the library will return the pilots that are flying to or from the given area or airport, not the current enroute stations. The discovery algorithm is based on origin and destination.

Filter by callsign examples

# Attaching the method directly to a string:
"BAW".vatsim_callsign # => returns an array of all Speedbird flights as station objects

# Attaching the method to a variable containing a string:
callsign = "BAW"
callsign.vatsim_callsign # => returns an array of all Speedbird flights as station objects

# Attaching the method to a list of callsigns:
callsign = "BAW, RYR"
callsign.vatsim_callsign # => returns an array of all Speedbird and Ryanair flights as station objects

Anatomy of method returns

The vatsim_online method returns a hash of 4 elements: 1) the matching atc stations, 2) all matching pilots stations, 3) matching arrivals, 4) matching departures. Each of those is an array, cosnsisting of station objects. Each of these objects includes a number of attributes:

icao.vatsim_online # => {:atc => [a1, a2, a3 ...], :pilots => [p1, p2, p3, p4 ...],
                   #    :departures => [p1, p4 ...], :arrivals => [p2, p3...]}

icao.vatsim_online[:atc] #=> [a1, a2, a3 ...]
icao.vatsim_online[:pilots] #=> [p1, p2, p3 ...]
icao.vatsim_online[:departures] #=> [p1, p3 ...]
icao.vatsim_online[:arrivals] #=> [p2, p4 ...]


icao.vatsim_online[:atc].first #=> a1
icao.vatsim_online[:pilots].first #=> p1

a1.callsign #=> "LQSA_TWR"
a1.frequency #=> "118.25"
a1.name #=> "Svilen Vassilev"
a1.rating #=> "S2"
a1.online_since #=> "2012-09-22 10:00:48 UTC"
...

p1.callsign #=> "ACH217S"
p1.departure #=> "LQSA"
p1.destination #=> "LDSP"
p1.remarks #=> "/V/ RMK/CHARTS"
...

Arrivals and departures are returned separately for convenience, in case you want to loop through them separately. The pilots array contains all arrivals and departures.

The vatsim_callsign method returns an array of all matching stations.

Station attributes

Here's a complete list of the station object attributes that can be accessed:

  • cid (VATSIM ID)
  • callsign
  • name
  • role
  • frequency
  • altitude
  • planned_altitude (or FL)
  • heading
  • groundspeed
  • transponder
  • aircraft
  • origin
  • destination
  • route
  • rating (returns a humanized version of the VATSIM rating: S1, S2, S3, C1, etc...)
  • facility
  • remarks
  • atis (raw atis, as reported from VATSIM, including voice server as first line)
  • atis_message (a humanized version of the ATC atis w/o server and with lines split)
  • logon (login time as unparsed text string: 20120722091954)
  • online_since (returns the station login time parsed as a Ruby Time object in UTC)
  • latitude
  • longitude
  • latitude_humanized (e.g. N44.09780)
  • longitude_humanized (e.g. W58.41483)
  • qnh_in (indicated QNH in inches Hg)
  • qnh_mb (indicated QNH in milibars/hectopascals)
  • flight_type (I for IFR, V for VFR, etc)
  • gcmap (returns a great circle map image url)

Great circle map visualization

The .gcmap method, available for all pilot stations, returns a great circle map image url, depicting the GC route of the aircraft, its origin and destination, its current position on the route, together with its current altitude and groundspeed. Example below:

icao.vatsim_online[:pilots].first.gcmap #=> image url of the map

GC Map

The map size (width and height) and scale can be customized by passing an optional hash of arguments to the vatsim_online method like this:

icao.vatsim_online(:gcmap_width => "400", :gcmap_height => "400")[:pilots].first.gcmap #=> image url of the map

# The quotes are optional, so the statement can also be written like this:
icao.vatsim_online(:gcmap_width => 400, :gcmap_height => 400)[:pilots].first.gcmap

GC Map

Customizing the request

The vatsim online method can be customized by passing in a hash-style collection of arguments. The currently supported arguments and their defaults are:

:atc => true     # Possible values: true, false. Default: true
:pilots => true  # Possible values: true, false. Default: true
:exclude => "ICAO" # Accepts any full or partial ICAO code to be excluded from the ATC stations
:gcmap_width => integer # Optional parameter customizing the width of the station's `.gcmap`
:gcmap_height => integer # Optional parameter customizing the height of the station's `.gcmap`

ATC exclusions

The :exclude => "ICAO" option can be used to exclude matching stations from the ATC listing. It accepts full or partial ICAO codes or callsigns.

For example you might want to display all Austrian ATC stations by calling "LO".vatsim_online. Seems logical since all Austrian stations callsigns begin with the LO prefix. However a few UK stations (London Control for example) also have callsigns beginning with LO (LON_CTR). To avoid including them, you can use the :exclude option on your request like this:

# Lets exclude all ATC station names beginning with LON from our request
"LO".vatsim_online(:exclude => "LON")[:atc] #=> [atc1, atc2, atc3...]

# This option is not case sensitive so we can use "lon" as well:
"LO".vatsim_online(:exclude => "lon")[:atc] #=> [atc1, atc2, atc3...]

ATC and PILOTS options

Both options can be used to exclude all ATC or pilots stations respectively from the request, in order to speed it up and avoid processing useless data.

Examples:

# Lets exclude all ATC from our request and get the pilots only
"LO".vatsim_online(:atc => false)[:pilots] #=> [p1, p2, p3...]

# Lets exclude all pilots from our request and get the ATC only
"LO".vatsim_online(:pilots => false)[:atc] #=> [a1, a2, a3...]

"LO".vatsim_online(:atc => false)[:pilots].first.callsign #=> "ACH0838"
"LO".vatsim_online(:pilots => false)[:atc].first.callsign #=> "LOVV_CTR"

Example of Ruby on Rails implementation

Here's a possible scenario of using this gem in a Ruby on Rails application. Verbosity is kept on purpose for clarity.

In your controller:

def index
  # We want to retrieve all Austrian online stations (ATC and pilots)
  icao = "LO"
  stations = icao.vatsim_online

  # Now we will assign the ATCs and the pilots to separate instance variables,
  # to be able to loop through them separately in the view
  @atc = stations[:atc]
  @pilots = stations[:pilots]

  # We can also isolate the departures and/or arrivals for conveneinence if we
  # want to loop through them separately
  @departures = stations[:departures]
  @arrivals = stations[:arrivals]
end

In your view (HAML is used for clarity):

- for atc in @atc
  %li
    = atc.callsign
    = atc.frequency
    = atc.rating
    = atc.name
    = atc.online_since
    = atc.atis_message

- for pilot in @pilots
  %li
    = pilot.callsign
    = pilot.name
    = pilot.origin
    = pilot.destination
    = pilot.route
    = pilot.flight_type
    = pilot.altitude
    = pilot.groundspeed
    = pilot.heading
    = pilot.remarks
    = pilot.online_since
    = image_tag pilot.gcmap

- for arrival in @arrivals
  %li
    = arrival.callsign
    = arrival.name
    = image_tag arrival.gcmap

- for departure in @departures
  %li
    = departure.callsign
    = departure.name
    = image_tag departure.gcmap

Notes

  • Vatsim status and data files are cached locally to reduce the load on vatsim servers. Random server is chosen to retrieve the data each time. By default the status file is updated once every 4 hours and the data file once every 3 minutes regardless of the number of incoming requests.
  • The data is cached in your default TEMP directory (OS specific)
  • All the data retrieval and caching logic is encapsulated in a separate class VatsimTools::DataDownloader which can be mixed in other applications and libraries too.
  • The ICAO string used as a search criteria is not case sensitive
  • Pilot stations returned are based on origin and destination airports, the current algorithm does not evaluate enroute flights.
  • When attaching the vatsim_online method to a comma-separated list of full or partial ICAO identifiers it does not matter whether there will be any spaces in front or after the identifiers or the commas, i.e. you can use "LO,LB".vatsim_online or "LO, LB".vatsim_online or "LO , LB".vatsim_online with the same result.

Changelog

v. 0.8.3 - 10 April 2014

  • Fix stale data bug, change data fallback logic

v. 0.8.2 - 5 October 2013

  • Handle undetermined position when drawing gcmap

v. 0.8.1 - 5 October 2013

  • Ignore prefile data

v. 0.8 - 5 October 2013

  • search by callsign implemented

v. 0.7.4 - 2 August 2013

  • fallback scenarios for offline data servers

v. 0.7.2 - 15 July 2013

  • added gemspec license declaration

v. 0.7.1 - 15 July 2013

  • more comprehensive ATC ratings list
  • dependencies updated

v. 0.7.0 - 26 February 2013

  • added Ruby 2.0 support

v. 0.6.2 - 4 January 2013

  • updated gem dependencies
  • refactored Station class for simplicity

v. 0.6.1 - 08 October 2012

  • Fixed pilot station duplication issue when using multiple ICAOs

v. 0.6.0 - 08 October 2012

  • The vatsim_online method now also supports a comma-separated list of full or partial ICAO codes like this: "LO,LB".vatsim_online. This allows you to pull the information for multiple airports or FIRs in a single request
  • The comma-seprated list is not sensitive to whitespace, meaning you can use "LO,LB".vatsim_online or "LO, LB".vatsim_online or "LO , LB".vatsim_online with the same result

v. 0.5.3 - 30 September 2012

  • fixed bug with exceptions on missing ATC remark

v. 0.5.2 - 29 September 2012

  • fixed permissions bug on UNIX systems

v. 0.5.1 - 23 September 2012

  • bugfixes

v. 0.5 - 23 September 2012

  • New option :exclude => "ICAO" allowing further request customization by excluding a matching subset of ATC stations from the listing. Read the documentation for detailed explanation and examples
  • New customized station attribute: online_since. Returns the station login time parsed as a Ruby Time object in UTC (zulu time). As opposed to the logon attribute which returns an unformatted, unparsed string such as 20120722091954
  • The rating station attribute is now humanized not to return just an integer, but a readable version of the VATSIM rating, i.e. S1, S2, S3, C1, C3, I1, I3, etc...
  • Added the possibility of customizing the great circle maps by optionally passing parameters for width and height: icao.vatsim_online(:gcmap_width => 400, :gcmap_height => 400). Read the documentation for detailed explanation and examples
  • New customized station attribute atis_message. It will return a humanized web safe version of the ATC atis without the voice server info and with lines split with <br /> tags. As opposed to the original atis attribute, which returns raw atis, as reported from VATSIM, including voice server as first line

v. 0.4 - 27 August 2012

  • GCMapper integration: this library now plays nicely with gcmapper. A new attribute is provided for the pilot stations: .gcmap which returns a great circle map image url, depicting the GC route of the aircraft, its origin and destination, its current position on the route, together with its current altitude and groundspeed. Look at the example in the README section above.
  • New station attributes: planned_altitude, transponder, heading, qnh_in, qnh_mb, flight_type, cid, latitude_humanized, longitude_humanized

v. 0.3 - 22 July 2012

  • The hash returned by the vatsim_online method now includes 2 new arrays: arrivals and departures. These two are returned separately for convenience, in case you want to loop through them separately. The pilots array return is unchanged and contains all arrivals and departures.
  • New station attributes: latitude, longitude
  • Improved UTF-8 conversion process

v. 0.2 - 21 July 2012

  • Station attribute departure is now renamed to origin
  • UTF-8 is now enforced for all local caching and file/string manipulations, the original Vatsim data is re-encoded
  • Station ATIS is now cleaned of invalid and obscure characters
  • Improved documentation

Contributing

  1. Fork it
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Added some feature')
  4. Make sure all tests are passing!
  5. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  6. Create new Pull Request

Credits

Copyright © 2013 Svilen Vassilev

If you find my work useful or time-saving, you can endorse it or buy me a cup of coffee:

endorse Donate

Released under the MIT LICENSE

Maps generated by the Great Circle Mapper, copyright Karl L. Swartz

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