Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Developer Survey

We want your feedback!

Last week, FlightStats sent a survey to Flex API customers to gather feedback from our Developer Community as a way to inform our 2015 product planning.  

If you are a customer and did not get a survey and would like to provide feedback, please contact us at sales@flightstats.com and we will send you the survey details. 

Feedback like this is very important and helpful.  We really appreciate hearing from as many of you as possible. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

FlightStats releases Positions v2

FlightStats is pleased to announce an upgrade to our Flight Track API.  On December 10, 2014, FlightStats will release Positions v2 which provides a richer set of positional data to be used within flight tracker applications.  This upgraded API will include several new fields as well as derived positions when observed positions are not available.  

Additional Fields:
  • course: The direction of travel in degrees relative to geographic north, clockwise. The range for this data field is -179 to 180.
  • vrateMps: The velocity of ascent or descent (if negative) in meters per second.
  • phase: Description used to indicate the most likely activity of the plane at a given time. Phases include: Ground, Take-Off, Departure, Climb, Leveled, Cruise, Descend, Approach, Landing. Not all positions will include a phase.
  • lastObserved: The timestamp of when FlightStats last received an observed position. In cases where no observed positions are provided for a flight, this field will not be present. The 'date' field in each of the positions blocks identifies the time when the plane is believed to be at that specific location -- either observed or calculated. FlightStats continues to calculate the position even when no additional observed data is provided. In such cases, there will be a difference between date and lastObserved, a gap that increases as the flight continues.
  • stationID: The station identifier used by the FAA for ASDI data. Examples: KZLA, KZAB, KZDV.

Special Note regarding stationID:
The ASDI stream consists of a collection of observations from different regional and national tracking systems. Each of these has a separate stationId. A single aircraft may be observed by multiple stations at once, each of which may report a slightly different position due to the inherent inaccuracy of radar. Because of this, trackers showing ASDI streams should either show all signals separately, maintain an affinity between a callsign and single stationId as long as possible, or integrate the different signals.
(Note: ADS-B data payloads will be unchanged in the new system. ASDI data payloads will include one additional field - stationID.)

Request Parameters:
Applications will not need to make any changes to their current request in order to receive derived positions -- derived will be the sourceType by default. If you want to continue receiving positional data as it currently is provided, you will need to add a single argument.  (sourceType=raw)

If you would like to take advantage of the new fields, your application will need to include that value in the 'extendedOptions' n/v pair, as shown below. 

Here is an example request that will return positional data as it is currently in production, without the new fields. 

?appId<appid>
&appKey=<appkey>
&sourceType=raw
&includeFlightPlan=true


This example will return the new derived data.  sourceType is not needed, because it defaults to sourceType=derived.  In this case, new fields will be included. 

?appId<appid>
&appKey=<appkey>
&extendedOptions=includeNewFields
&includeFlightPlan=true

This example will return the new derived data and include new fields (extendedOptions=includeNewFields)

?appId=[appID]
&appKey[appKey]
&includeFlightPlan=false
&maxPositions=25
&sourceType=derived
&extendedOptions=includeNewFields

Please see the Developer Center for additional documentation.

(Note:  From now until release date, you will need to include the n/v pair "sourceType=derived" in order to test and review the new data payload.)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Gesture-based Flight Board with Voice and Face Recognition by Interknowlogy

There have been many great advances in digital signage technology finding their way into airports, hotel lobbies, convention centers and other travel hubs.  Here's a new take on a flight board from the folks at Interknowlogy.

Their NUI (natural user interface) Flights system lets users scroll through flights using hand gestures to find their flight.  It also features voice recognition allowing users to speak their airline and flight number.  NUI Flights then finds that flight and shows the detailed status.  A third method uses facial recognition to support a use case in which a user opts in to let the system recognize one's face and lookup the relevant flight information for display without any other interaction.

The app is powered by FlightStats FIDS API, of course, and will be featured at the upcoming Digital Signage Expo in Las Vegas Sands Hotel Expo Center on February 12-13, 2014.

Here's a link to a couple of video demos of NUI Flights available for download on HighTail.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Leading Global Airline Uses FlightStats Japanese/English API in Mobile/Web Apps

ANA Mobile Application Image
ANA (All Nippon Airways) is a leading Japanese provider of air transportation services and is one of the world’s largest airlines, serving 128 domestic Japanese routes with 912 daily flights and 34 international and regional routes to 10 countries in Asia, Europe and North America. ANA is consistently at the top in on-time performance and has been recognized as a winner or a finalist by FlightStats On-time Performance Awards in various categories since the program’s inception in 2009.

THE CHALLENGE

As a leading airline in Japan, ANA is continually striving to find innovative ways to provide the best customer service experience for its customers. In this case, ANA sought a powerful solution for making flight status information by route, and by flight, available to their customers via their mobile application ANA GLOBAL, as well as via their website. With ANA’s commitment to customer experience, it was important that the user experience be seamless to customers, and that the flight information available also include codeshare information. Codeshare information is typically quite difficult to integrate into a solution for independent entities because it requires the gathering, implementation, and management of multiple data sources.
“FlightStats data has made it possible to provide our customers with the latest flight status information, for both operating and marketing carrier customers. And since the data has been translated into Japanese, it was quick and easy to implement without having to do the translations ourselves. This data has received high marks from our users.” - Hiroyuki Yoshida, All Nippon Airways

THE SOLUTION

ANA is using FlightStats Flex APIs to get the real-time global flight status information by route and by flight. With the option to have API responses delivered in multiple languages, ANA was able to quickly and easily provide the information in both Japanese and English for customers to choose. The breadth of FlightStats global coverage, including codeshare data, gives ANA the power easily give customers the ability to quickly find data about their flight. ANA is able to offer an enhanced travel experience to their customer but does not have to manage multiple data sources. Using FlightStats’ data shortened ANA’s development time because FlightStats has packaged its flight information and made it available via RESTful APIs that are flexible, easy-to-use, and easy-to-implement in mobile and web applications. For more information regarding this and other FlightStats data solutions please contact a FlightStats representative.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

FlightStats API used in upcoming THack San Francisco coming September 19th.

Tnooz brings developers and travel brands together at the upcoming THack San Francisco on September 19th.  The hack will feature two tracks: products (coded hack) and conceptual (concept hack). FlightStats APIs are among the nine featured in the hackathon.


  • Coded Hack - developers have ten days to pull together a hack for the showcase. Developers will have three specific travel problems (noted below) to solve. Potential prize: $2,000.
  • Concept Hack - developers and others can pitch an idea for a new multi-API hack. Potential prize: $1,000.

Problems to be solved:
  1. Breakaway or stayaway - create a service to give a traveller options for a three-day break anywhere from San Francisco by air or visiting a tourist spot within California.
  2. Friend on the road - using mobile as the interface, develop a service to assist users on the days they travel from A to B.
  3. Inspire me! - images, videos, tips and more, showcase what California has to offer the tourist and how they might get there.
  4. The ultimate hack - use every API on offer and see what comes out the other side!
Developers interested in participating should contact Tnooz edtor Kevin May to confirm participation. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

GE FlightQuest 2 - Enter today and optimize flight!



Do you have what it takes to change the future of flight? 
Airlines are constantly looking for ways to make flights more efficient? From gate conflicts to operational challenges to air traffic management, the dynamics of a flight can change quickly and lead to costly delays.
Commercial airlines spend 22 billion dollars a year on managing flight plan efficiency.

There is good news. Advancements in real-time big data analysis are changing the course of flight management, as we know it. Imagine if the pilot could augment their decision-making process with “real time business intelligence,” —information available in the cockpit that would allow them to adjust and improve their flight patterns.

On the heels of GE's FlightQuest 1, where the winning team's algorithm managed to improve the prediction of estimated flight times by 40% over the standard industry benchmarks, GE seeks again to build upon those high reaching results. The winning predictive algorithms from the first phase will be used to create a simulation in the second phase of the Quest with the ultimate goal of GE developing an onboard flight management application.

The second phase of Flight Quest is a challenge to recommend the best flight strategy for flights already in the air - recommending the best route to reduce cost, avoid bad weather, and get to destinations on time. Better decisions in flight mean passengers can plan their days better, ground crews have less wait time, and flights consume less fuel.

The competition will feature comprehensive flight status information, positional, and airport weather data from FlightStats for data scientists to leverage in their quest to optimize flight planning efficiency.

"FlightStats is delighted to be a data partner with GE's FlightQuest2 competition. Technology advancements that optimize flight operations will contribute to airlines’ overall success and will greatly benefit the entire aviation ecosystem," said FlightStats CEO, Tod Hutchinson." 
Watch the video to learn more about the competition powered by Kaggle or visit GE's FlightQuest 2 site to get started. GE has committed a prize pool of $250,000 winners of Phase 2.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

3scale interviews David White about Flightstats APIs



Picture of David White, Chief Customer Officer at FlightStats


Interview with David White, FlightStats Chief Customer Officer. In this role, David works with key customers, content providers, and channel partners, and insures all are properly represented in product and development plans.


Introduction

APIs are a key infrastructure component for online businesses – powering mobile applications, partnership programs and innovation. Increasingly, as many businesses become more software driven, having a well-managed API available to customers and partners is becoming key to success in the marketplace. That is why FlightStats chose 3scale as its API platform enabling FlightStats to securely open, control, manage, operate and monetize APIs to 3rd parties (e.g. developers, business partners, etc).

APIs have been a core part of our business since 2003. We’ve built FlightStats around providing day-of-travel data and services to the travel industry. APIs are the primary delivery mechanism. - David White 


Q.  Tell us more about FlightStats APIs

A. FlightStats aggregates data from many sources to provide the most complete global coverage of commercial airline flight information. With FlightStats® Flex APIs you slice and dice the data the way you want. The APIs are powerful, precise and concise. They are designed for ease of use with REST, supporting JSON, JSONP, XML formats as well as SOAP. FlightStats® Flex APIs can receive replies to their API requests in English, Simplified Chinese, Japanese, German, and French.