Aircraft Tracking Details

As part of its air transportation modernization effort known as NextGen, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires all private and commercial aircraft to continuously broadcast digital information about the aircraft's identity, position, speed and other details using a system known as Automatic Dependent Surveilance–Broadcast, or ADS-B. Some, but not all, military aircraft also transmit ADS-B data.

Anyone with an inexpensive radio receiver and the appropriate software can intercept these transmissions and thus gain live information about aircraft within line of sight of the receiver. Feeder networks of these receivers, usually operated by volunteers, power flight-tracking websites such as ADS-B Exchange, Flightradar24 and FlightAware.

This website makes use of ADS-B tracking data from a single receiver located about 2.5 miles south of the Madison airport. The receiver is also a feeder into the ADS-B Exchange flight-tracking network, and the computer code used here for mapping aircraft information has been adapted from code developed for feeders on that network.

There are some limitations to the ADS-B information presented here: