Make a web map of the airports you've visited

My airport map

I’ve written a web site called OurAirports that lets you make a map of the airports you’ve visited (either as a pilot or as a passenger, your choice). Here’s my personal map — note that you can share your maps with anyone, not just other members:

http://www.ourairports.com/members/david/

To make your own map, set up a free account (takes about 30 seconds), then just click in the “I’ve been here!” box on each airport’s page. You can also browse the airports of the world on The Big Map or drill down geographically. My favourite, though, is warping to a random airport.

Please help a bit…

This is just a web site, not a startup — sadly, there aren’t enough of us to build a real business out of this. But there’s no point spending any more time on it if the site’s not fun, so if you don’t do anything else please visit the site and let me know what I could do to make it more fun for you as a pilot, airline passenger, GA passenger, etc.

… and a bit more …

If you feel like helping even more, I’d be grateful if you could show the site to other people who like flying and find out what they think of it. The site lets you leave comments on airports, like AirNav.com does, except that it includes airports outside the U.S. and doesn’t force you to attach comments to a specific FBO. The more comments people leave, the more useful the site is.

… and even more?

Finally, if you’re really hardcore helpful (or you’re stuck in a long layover with nothing else to do), here are some of the things I’m thinking about for the next step, and I’d love to hear people’s preferences:

  • Let people categorize airport comments (FBO, wifi, fuel, food, ground transpo, etc.) so that it’s easier to find information.

  • Set up editing and moderation privileges, so that members can add and correct airport (and maybe navaid?) data to keep it current.

  • Add forums for organizing fly-ins, buying or selling used stuff (tools, GPS, plane, whatever), or even ride boards linked to individual airports, so that you can see what’s going on in your area.

  • Add navaids, fixes, and basic flight-planning support (draw lines on the map) — this would appeal only to pilots, of course.

  • Add bulk entry of airports, so that you can just type all the IDs of the airports you’ve visited into a textarea instead of going to each airport page and clicking.

  • Export airport data in GPX format, so that you can load it into your GPS.

  • Let members upload GPS tracks to the site, so that they can be displayed on the map and shared with other people.

  • Add the usual airport data that other sites have (runway lengths, frequencies, etc.)

  • Try to dig up information on airline schedules and link it to the site.

  • Give up on the whole idea and do something useful with my free time.

Let me know what you think, and please help me let other pilots know about the site. If you want to send me private email instead of commenting here, my GMail id is david.megginson, and the domain for GMail addresses is gmail.com.

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About David Megginson

Scholar, tech guy, Canuck, open-source/data/information zealot, urban pedestrian, language geek, tea drinker, pater familias, red tory, amateur musician, private pilot.
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9 Responses to Make a web map of the airports you've visited

  1. Paul Tomblin says:

    It keeps timing out on me. Plus, it gets into a mode where it asks me to log back in, but refuses to recognize my userid and password (and strangely enough, Firefox’s Password Manager doesn’t pre-fill the userid and password).

    It’s a great idea, especially if it could be used as a front end to edit my navaid.com databases (please?).

  2. Nick says:

    Great idea, something I’ve actually been looking for for a while. One thing that would be great is if each user could tag one or two airports as “I’m really familiar with this airport and I don’t mind if other users contact me with questions or to find out the latest news”. That would make it really useful. My vote for the first feature to implement from your list would be the bulk entry feature.

  3. Tim says:

    Hey David,
    What a great idea. As I entered all my airports I had a lot of fun recounting my travels of the past 4 years since I got in to flying. I will start backfilling my entries with comments as time permits. I’m a huge fan of Airnav, but with no Canadian info it’s ultility is even more limited than XM Weather north of the 49th! I also use COPA’s “places to fly”, but honestly it’s the most ugly thing imaginable and really sort of an embarrasment. I commend you for getting this off the ground and I will try to contribute as much as possible.
    Thanks!
    Tim Lewis
    Vancouver, BC

  4. david says:

    Thank you all for the comments.

    Paul: I worked frantically last night pushing out changes, and I think the database is a lot faster now for simultaneous users. I hope the site seemed faster as the evening went on. Right now, I’m hosting on a shared/cluster (Mosso), so I’m also subject to the load on other sites, but I may move to a dedicated server soon, since the cost is about the same. I would like to start integrating our databases — your navaid.com DB is a huge service to the aviation community.

    Nick: that’s a good idea about tagging your main airports. I’m also hoping to messages for members (similar to comments on airports), so that you can leave a message for someone who has visited an airport and the person will see the message. Request for bulk entry noted.

    Tim: I use AirNav a lot as well, but my other problem with it (aside from the lack of non-U.S. coverage) is that you can comment on specific FBOs and businesses, but not on the airport in general. Where do you leave a comment about the landing fee or the tricky IFR departure at Teterboro, for example, or about clearing U.S. customs at Massena? I do plan to add a “Links” tab for each airport, with links to the relevant pages at AirNav.com, COPA Places to Fly, online airport diagrams, Wikipedia, the airport home page, etc., as appropriate — I want to help visitors learn as much as they can about an airport anywhere on the Web, instead of locking them into a walled garden like FaceBook and similar sites do (even AirNav).

  5. Chris says:

    David – I love the new site. The search button won’t work for me. If you type in the airport key and hit enter, it’s no problem. If you hit the search button instead, nothing happens. I’m using IE, in case that helps.

    It would also be nice to be able to flag an airport as your home airport.

  6. david says:

    Thanks, Chris — I forgot to add type=”submit” to that one (Firefox lets me get away with that, but MSIE doesn’t). It should work in MSIE now. I’m checking all the other button elements, just to be safe.

  7. Tony Hunt says:

    David – this is great! Don’t ask why I am spending my Saturday night looking back in my logbook and entering data. Is there a way to cross-link to a blogger entry if I have photos of the strip in my blog?

    Tim – XM Weather? It works north of the 49th, all the Canadian weather radar, METARs and TAFs is there but you have to have the US XM Radio subscription to get the Canadian data.

  8. Nick says:

    Ok, after actually using the site for a few days I would say my number one most desireable feature would be for the scroll wheel on my mouse to control the zoom like it does in google maps. Also, the little zoomed out map in the corner would be a great help when panning around. I have no experience with the GMaps API, so this may be either very hard or very difficult to do, but either way it would improve my user experience tremendously.

    P.S. Thanks again for developing this! It’s fantastic, my flying friends are also fans, and I totally agree with your philosophy and direction for development. Your work and dedication to this project are admirable.

  9. david says:

    Nick:

    Thanks for the comment. I think that the GMaps API has an option to use the scrollwheel, so I’ll add that to my TODO list. The little map might be harder, but I agree that it would be very useful. I’ll look into that and see how it would work.

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