Real-time 3D air traffic

We’ve talked about a few real-time flight tracking apps for Google Earth before, and now we’ve got another one – and this one is pretty slick.
Using data from an ADS-B receiver (Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast) on one of the buildings at ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences, School of Engineering (in Winterthur, Switzerland), Albert Steiner has put together a rather nice representation of the aircraft over parts of Switzerland and Central Europe.


Items in the display (including the information overlay in the sidebar) are updated every 10 seconds. The paths of the planes are colored to indicate height when viewed from above, and the planes themselves are nicely rendered 3D models, though all are labeled with the generic “Air Traffic in 3D” logo.
For more, you can download the KML to play with it, read more on the institute website, or check out Albert’s personal site.

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.


  1. Excellent visualization – pity it suffers, as do all of us 3D modelllers, from the “Near Clipping Plane” bug that makes the models disappear when you get close to them.

  2. Thanks for the post! Lately I’ve been doing a lot of work with the real-time capabilities of Google Earth, and it is quite a powerful tool! It’s great to see how others are using this functionality too!

  3. How to turn it off?
    It is distracting and takes up valuable screen space.

  4. C — You can simply uncheck it from the “Places” box on the left side of your screen and it’ll be turned off.

  5. Mickey
    Thank you very much indeed.
    I had been looking in the “Layers” section for an appropriate tick box. Thanks for putting me right.

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