This post is a re-edit of the original post made earlier last year.
I downloaded 2 Aircraft Tracking iPhone Apps which allows you to track the position, height, speed, Squawk Code, Aircraft type, heading, source, destination and Aircraft Registration, plus much more.
These amazing iPhone apps are brilliant if you are interested in aircraft or just want to know where a plane in the sky is heading.
So Which one is better, FlightRadar24 or PlaneFinder (Harry Hill would normally do ‘FIGHT’ at this point but I’m going to look at the 2 apps and do a proper review…In no particular order)
Flight Radar 24
This was the first app I downloaded. The main features were full flight tracking plus visual tracking where you could hold the iPhone camera up to the sky where there was an aircraft and it would point to it with identification. The Augmented Reality makes it possible to point the camera to the sky and view aircraft information and all the details regarding air traffic over you.
The accuracy is stunning – I actually grabbed a pair of binoculars when a Lufthansa 747 was reported over Waterford, and it was indeed the aircraft mentioned on the iPhone App. Amazing.
Check out http://www.flightradar24.com/ for more details.
I downloaded this app just as a comparison as this one showed actual photos of the aircraft in question and also allowed for sharing of the spotted aircraft on Facebook etc.
The screen shot above shows the same Aircraft which was spotted in the Flightradar24 App.
PlaneFinder does almost everything that FlightRadar24 does, but I find that there are certain functions you can achieve such as advanced filters, e.g. show all aircraft above a certain height, speed or indeed of a certain airline. I also found some aircraft not listed on FlightRadar24.
More information on PlaneFinder can be found at http://my.pinkfroot.com/
How do these iPhone Aircraft Tracking Apps Work?
These apps only show information regarding aircraft which are equipped with ADS-B transponders. About 60% of the passenger aircraft and some private aircraft have an ADS-B transponder installed.
The Flightradar24 and PlaneTracker apps use a network of ADS-B receivers around the world. These ADS receivers get plane and flight information from the aircraft with ADS-B (Broadcasts) and sends this information to a main server. These apps simply collect the ADS data and displays this information on the iPhone Apps map. However only aircraft within the coverage area of the ADS receivers are visible – so if you are in USA you may have limited visibility as these apps are mainly covering Europe. Current coverage is approx 90% of Europe. However, there is also limited coverage in USA, Australia and Middle East.
Both Apps require WiFi or a 3G connection to work. If you only have a cellular data connection you may get 1 or 2 aircraft showing up but the app won’t work to it’s full potential – so ensure you have 3G turned on.
The only problems I saw was one aircraft which was a ghost image of itself – i.e. for example an aircraft D-GBHF was showing up side by side but it was the same aircraft. Could have been a glitch.
However the most fun glitch I saw was an aircraft which had a recorded cruising speed of zero knots – clever trick!
Flight Tracking Apps – Conculsion
Both apps are excellent in the way the aircraft are displayed plus the refresh rate and the accuracy is very good on both apps.
Both apps have been updated since my original post and I will be updating this post with the changes and new features.
PlaneFinder retails at €3.99 in the App Store
FlightRadar24 reatils at €2.39 in the App Store.
FREE Versions of these iPhone Apps are available also.
If you have any comments regarding these apps please comment below!
I decided to track how much I use each app just as an experiment to see which iPhone apps I frequent most often. The results are quite interesting.
(You can click the graph to the right to see the results–> )
I did this little experiment while I was on Holiday in the south island of New Zealand, which is why apps like Booking.com and TripAdvisor are on the list. (These 2 apps got us some of the best accommodation in New Zealand and would be worth downloading if you don’t already have them!)
So what were my most used iPhone Apps?
In first place, top of the heap was the Facebook App. This was interesting since I’m not really somebody who would do too much on Facebook, however, it seems I check in on the app quite a bit to see whats going on.
In 2nd Place was the Sky News app, one of the best news apps I have used. 3rd place saw yet another Social Media app, Twitter, which I am getting quite into now and enjoying using … maybe even more than Facebook for the interactive nature of it. 4th Place, Classic FM which is great to relax to and the iPhone app for Classic FM delivers very high quality radio straight to your device. 5th place sees,Grrr, Angry Birds which I really got into while on the long haul flights. The rest you can see for yourself. Feel free to add a comment about which apps you most use.
The Most used iPhone App Table
|15||RTE News Now 3G|
|12||Sky Mobile TV|
|6||Xe Currency Converter|
|3||Entertainment.ie (cinema guide)|
The test was carried out over a 2 week period in May 2011 and over 300 app uses were logged.
NDrive is a Tom Tom style Sat Nav for the iPhone and is available on iTunes from €6.99. This covers Ireland & Uk however NDrive provide apps for other regions also. There are other Sat Nav systems and apps out there but many are priced from €20 up to €80 – not naming any names!
I downloaded this iPhone Sat Nav App based on price first, thinking that for €6.99 there was no way that a Sat Nav app for this price would work. But it did!
The app has many features including POI (points of interest), find an address, route to your home address plus much more. The NDrive Sat Nav App has a speech interface so turn by turn, you get a nice lady telling you to “in 400 metres turn left” and the usual “Turn Around” if you don’t follow the instructions.
I tested the NDrive App from a service station on the Naas Dual Carriage-way outside Dublin to Waterford.
The route was estimated to be 1hr 48 minutes which turned out to be only 8 minutes out but traffic is not considered. Also I did use the route via the N9 via Thomastown however the App suggested using the N10 via Kilkenny. I did this deliberately to see what would happen. It initially told me to “When safe – Turn Around” but on entering Gowran it recalculated the route and continued using the N9 which was nice.
The app has a powerful address search engine, and it remembers recent searches to minimise input requirements. There are also features like Itineraries, Alternative routes, Lane Assistance, TTS, POIs, Traffic and Business Search. NDrive won’t use your 3G or Edge data connection to show you the map. The entire Ireland & UK map is stored in your iPhone and even if you lose coverage (which will happen a few times between Waterford and Dublin), your navigation won’t be interrupted.
It will be interesting to see how long it takes the system to update the mapping to include the new M9 from Danesfort Kilkenny to the Carlow section of M9 which opens on September 9th.
The routing and positioning is very accurate. Only one or two small bugs, including one where it told me to turn right up a road which was blocked off & closed in 2005.
The NDrive app provides great value, a good interface, good service and also it does exactly what it says on the tin.
Apart from that I am very happy with the NDrive Ireland & UK iPhone App and it is available to download from the App Store, search for NDrive!
Link : http://www.ndriveweb.com/software-iphone/
NDrive iPhone Sat Nav App