AMITIAE - Thursday 20 August 2015

Cassandra: Update to Flightradar24 with Apple Watch app

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By Graham K. Rogers


One of the apps that I have been found useful in recent months has been the aircraft tracker, Flightradar24. As well as providing flight path details and an approximate location of many commercial aircraft - in flight and on the ground - screen shots of the track have been posted when there have been problems.

Examples include planes suffering bird strikes, circling before landing; the problems for many flights trying to land in Nepal after the earthquake a few months back; and when an airport was closed. In that case, planes could be seen stacked up waiting for an opportunity to land.

Flight Flight

On a more domestic note, I was able to track the journey of my niece as she made her way here for a holiday. And I also tracked a friend's flight when he made a visit to Hanoi last month. A particularly interesting feature is the ability to point the iPhone in the general direction of a plane that I can see from my window and identify that: type, destination, carrier and call-sign among other information.

The app has just been updated to provide support for Apple Watch. Once the app was updated on the iPhone, the app was immediately available on the Apple Watch, although the app logo did not display. I had positioned it using the Apple Watch app on the iPhone, where the logo was shown. I restarted the Watch (hold the side button and the Digital Crown together for a second or two) and the logo was there.

Flight Flight

The app works in a far simpler way on the Watch, of course; but it does display a list of nearby flights. When one of these is tapped, a map appears showing the position of the plane. No other planes were shown, unlike the iPhone display.

As it appears on the Apple Watch, Flightradar24 is not meant as a replacement for the iPhone app but is intended to complement it, as with other apps currently available. If the information displayed warrants closer attention, I switch to the iPhone, as and when necessary.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.



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