Sunday, December 4, 2016

Terminating my ADS-B experiments....for good reason

I've been running my own ADS-B logger for some months now and I learned many things. And while I am excited about the "endless" possibilities, I have started to reach some limits with my experiments:

The Limits of Radio Reception

Hamburg Low Altitude out of range...
Yes, I was surprised how much reception I did achieve with that tiny antenna on my USB dongle. But it became very clear that I missed most of the arriving/departing flights over Hamburg at low altitude. To improve coverage I would have had to install a bigger antenna or simply joined/used the data feed from or And yes, I was too cheap to go for a 1090 amplifier/filter or that famous FR24 dongle.

The Limits of the Free-Tier on AWS RDS

I did upload my aggregated ADS-B data to a free Amazon mySQL instance (free tier, free for one year). Great learning experience, but as the data accumulated the CPU utilization did go up. I would have had to clean up the data, or to switch to a bigger instance. Again, I was too cheap to go spend money on a bigger DB that would essentially host only my data.

The Limits of my own Attention Span

The other effect I experienced was the lack of new challenges.

Yes, the ADS-B logging worked fine, the mySQL upload as well, the analytics with is fun.  So where do I go from here?

At work, I have access to full 2 years of FR24 data and some powerful analytics tools. That allows me to tinker and explore with massive aircraft data - much much more than I could ever handle (the 2 week data set for testing alone has 200Mio entries).

My old Raspberry PI was re-purposed as a surveillance camera with the fabulous MotionEyeOS package. Highly recommended..sure beats all the commercially available products out there (especially when you use the new 8MP camera module on an RPi3).

And Amazon AWS? I deleted my RDS instance (before I forget and incur cost).  Now I'm experimenting with AWS Lightsail...articles to follow shortly.

Keep on learning...!

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