FlightRadar on a Raspberry Pi

About: Born in Austria. Began to learn coding in 2015. Passionate software developer ever since. Skilled at Javascript, PHP, C#, Java and C. Always excited to learn new things.

Track nearby flights with your own Raspberry Pi and an awesome webinterface.

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Step 1: Equipment List

For your personal flight tracker you need the following equipment:

Recommended:

Step 2: Construction

  1. Connect the DVB-T Dongle to your Raspberry Pi via USB
  2. Connect the antenna to the DVB-T Dongle
  3. Set up the Raspberry Pi
    How to set up the Raspberry Pi?

Step 3: Install Drivers for the DVB-T Dongle

  1. Install all required packages
    sudo apt-get install git build-essential cmake libusb-1.0-0-dev screen
  2. Clone the following git repository
    git clone git://git.osmocom.org/rtl-sdr.git
  3. Create a new folder in 'rtl-sdr'
    cd ~/rtl-sdr

    mkdir build

  4. Execute 'cmake' in 'rtl-sdr/build'
    cd build
    cmake ../ -DINSTALL_UDEV_RULES=ON

  5. Compile the driver
    sudo make install
    sudo ldconfig

  6. Go back to your home directory
    cd ~

  7. Copy rules for the driver to avoid 'device not found' errors
    sudo cp ./rtl-sdr/rtl-sdr.rules /etc/udev/rules.d/

  8. Create a configuration file to block TV-Signals
    cd /etc/modprobe.d/
    sudo nano rtlsdr.conf

  9. Paste the following line at the end of the file
    blacklist dvb_usb_rtl28xxu

  10. Reboot the Raspberry Pi
    sudo reboot

  11. Check the functionallity of the Dongle
    rtl_test -t
    Example Response:
    Found 1 device(s):0: Realtek, RTL2838UHIDIR, SN: 00000001

    Using device 0: Generic RTL2832U OEM Found Rafael Micro R820T tuner Supported gain values (29): 0.0 0.9 1.4 2.7 3.7 7.7 8.7 12.5 14.4 15.7 16.6 19.7 20.7 22.9 25.4 28.0 29.7 32.8 33.8 36.4 37.2 38.6 40.2 42.1 43.4 43.9 44.5 48.0 49.6 [R82XX] PLL not locked! Sampling at 2048000 S/s. No E4000 tuner found, aborting.

Step 4: Install the FlightRadar Software

  1. Clone the following git repository
    git clone https://github.com/PoscherAlexander/dump1090-flightradar.git
  2. Compile the files
    make
  3. Create a Google Maps Javascript API Key and paste it in 'dump1090-flightradar/public_html/gmap.html' on line 161 instead of 'YOUR_API_KEY_HERE'
    How to create a Google Maps Javascript API Key?

Step 5: Start the App and Watch Flights

Start the FlightRadar with the following command:

./dump1090 --interactive --aggressive --enable-agc --net

The FlightRadar is now available via the IP address of the Raspberry Pi and the port 8080

e.g. http://10.0.0.1:8080

Generally:

http://[IP_OF_THE_RASPBERRY_PI]:8080

If you want to enable additional information (e.g. plane model, airline, departure airport, ...) take a look here.


That's it! Have fun with your personal Flight Radar!

If you have any questions don't hesitate to contact me.

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    15 Discussions

    None
    O_GALA2O_GALA2

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    The problem was in dongle chip as supposed. Working! Thks

    None
    alexposcherO_GALA2

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    Hi, thank you for your help! I will change the link immediately.

    None
    alexposcherO_GALA2

    Reply 3 months ago

    Hi! Thank you for your interest in my instructable.
    Yes I have used this exact same model.
    Where exactly does the problem occur? While installing the RTL-SDR driver?
    If you like you can contact me via private message and we can work together in a TeamViewer session.

    None
    O_GALA2alexposcher

    Reply 3 months ago

    I always get "conected - no data" in flightradar status. After investigation in forums I think that the problem is with the DVBT sticks based on fc0012 chip instead of those based on R820T2. I have purchased one of this, when I'll receive it I'll tell you if it really was the problem.
    thanks mate!

    None
    meatfest

    4 months ago

    Hi I have mine working but the screen saver kicks in, how to stop that? Also, half the screen (lower 50%) is not maximised... any solution?

    7 replies
    None
    alexposchermeatfest

    Reply 4 months ago

    Hi meatfest,
    Thanks for your interest in my FlightRadar.

    To help you with your problem I need some more information:
    Where exactly does the screen saver kick in?
    On the Raspberry Pi or your PC?
    What operating system are you using? Raspbian?
    What do you mean with half the screen is not maximized?
    Do you mean the webinterface?

    You might find more help here: https://poscher.me/en/projects/flightradar/

    None
    meatfestalexposcher

    Reply 4 months ago

    Hi I am using a Model 3 A+ Pi, the screen just goes black. I tried (sse below) no joy.
    Half the screen is showing in the browser view ...
    sudo xset s offsudo xset -dpms
    sudo xset s noblank
    None
    alexposchermeatfest

    Reply 4 months ago

    Hi,
    Are you looking at the web interface on your PC or your Raspberry Pi?
    Does the screen blank while looking at the web interface?
    If possible, send me some screenshots so I can solve the problem faster.

    None
    johgerbauer

    5 months ago

    Wow, this is so awesome. Thanks for the great explanation! I really like this nice website. Have you created this whole thing?

    1 reply
    None
    alexposcherjohgerbauer

    Reply 5 months ago

    Hi johgerbauer, Thanks for the nice comment. I‘ve created the web interface. The decoder which tracks all the flights is already existing on github. There is an existing web interface, but I don’t really liked its design, so I thought, I create a new, modern and responsive one.