With the release of the new Flightradar24 we added a host of great new features, but the biggest additions to our historical data are CSV and KML files. In addition to our standard online playback, premium subscribers are able to download CSV and KML files for offline use. CSV files provide a detailed record of a flight’s position and flight information, while KML files offer that information in a file suitable for use in a program like Google Earth.
Using the new CSV and KML file export tool, we’ve been able to bring Flightradar24 data to life in new ways, from the Bombardier C Series route proving trials for SWISS to following a single aircraft for a year to following an entire fleet for day.
Downloading CSV and KML Files
CSV and KML files are available to users with a Silver, Gold, or Business subscription via our aircraft and flight data pages. Downloading either file type is as easy as clicking the appropriate button for the flight in which you are interested.
CSV and KML files are available for all flights within your account’s history range. For Silver subscribers, that means 90 days of CSV/KML files are available. For Gold subscribers, 365 days; and for Business subscribers, three (3) years.
Working with CSV Files
CSV files each have six (6) columns containing time, position, and movement information. The first column in each CSV file is a timestamp listed Unix Epoch time. The timestamp counts the number of seconds from the beginning of the Unix Epoch on 1 January 1970 (UTC). This formatting is very useful for computers and helps us ensure accuracy in our data, but to be more useful to humans, a small conversion is required.
To convert the Unix Epoch time stamp into a Date + UTC format, apply the following formula, where A2 is cell containing the Epoch Unix timestamp:
The result will then need to be converted the result to a Date + Time display format in your spreadsheet application.
The next column in the file is the flight’s Callsign which contains the three-character ICAO airline identifier. The third column contains Position data, reported as latitude and longitude. The final three columns are Altitude (in feet), Speed (Ground Speed in Knots), and Direction (heading).
Working with KML Files
KML, or Keyhole Markup Language, files are used to display geographic data in a program like Google Earth. KML files allow you to see flight data in four dimensions when viewed in Google Earth. Our KML files contain two subfolders, Route and Trail. Route is an animated playback of the flight and Trail is the file containing the colored flight trail (as seen in the image above).
KML files are extremely useful for comparing multiple flight histories, like our look at the Emirates A380 fleet or American Airlines’ first 787. Multiple KML files may be combined in Google Earth to examine multiple flight paths from the same aircraft or same flight number, or any combination you can imagine. It’s also possible to save multiple KML files together as a KMZ file so you don’t have to open each KML file individually if you want to work with the data in the future.
Using the Data
With the utility of CSV and KML files, we’re excited by the possibilities and we’re looking forward to seeing what our users can do with the data. If you’re working on a project with our CSV or KML files, we’d love to hear about it. You can contact us here, or find us on Twitter or Facebook.