News from OpenFlights, the site for flight logging, mapping, stats and sharing

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OpenFlights at BarCampKL, Sat Apr 4

I’ll be giving a short talk entitled Open Travel Culture: Wikitravel and OpenFlights at BarCampKL, held at Inti College Subang Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur on Saturday-Sunday, Apr 4-5th, 2009. My slot is tentatively scheduled for Saturday at 11 AM in Room 4, but this being an unconference that’s subject to change. This will be more or less the same as my talk at BarCampSingapore if you missed that, but there’s a lot of other interesting Travel 2.0 action going on in KL as well and I’ll be there for both days. See you there!

Raising the bar,

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Trains, planes and automobiles

To date, OpenFlights has been all about flying — too bad if you occasionally used other modes of transport as well. But today, a major new feature has been rolled out: instead of just flights, you can enter train, road or ship journeys as well.  This introduces a large number of other changes, some obvious, some subtle:

  • Travel is now color-coded: flights are still the familiar orange, but trains are red, trips by car brown and ships a light blue.
  • Handy icons (shown to the right) quickly tell you which mode you’ve selected.
  • For 3D Google Earth (KML) exports, land and sea journeys stay firmly anchored to the ground instead of soaring in the skies, and they’re color-coded as well.
  • A new “Mode” filter lets you filter your journeys by transportation mode.
  • Estimated travel durations are adjusted for mode, from a zippy 500 mph for flights to 100 mph for trains, 60 mph for cars and down to 40 mph for ferries.

Now, rest assured the focus of OpenFlights is and will remain on flying.  The primary purpose of allowing more than just flights is to “fill in the gaps” between those flights, which is why all journeys still have to start or end at airports.  Take a look at a sample trip that shows how this works:

The Serpent Across the Mekong

To add your own train, car and ship journeys, just switch into the Detailed editor (or pull up an airline search dialog in Basic) and choose your mode from the Flight pulldown.  We’ve also made it a little easier to enter new railway/bus/shipping companies, since there aren’t too many in the database at the moment: just hit Save after entering an unknown carrier, and you’ll be asked if you want to add it.

Last but not least, OpenFlights has switched to the Google Charts API, so those little pie charts under Analyze now look a whole lot nicer.

Find any bugs, or something simply not working the way you expect?  Let us know.

By sea, air and land,

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One of our first feature requests was simply entitled “more stats“, but it’s taken a while to work through the wish list.  Today that request (which kept on growing larger and more complex!) was finally marked as completed, and here’s what you get.

Top 10 by mileage: Previously, the Top 10 screen ranked your routes, airports, airlines and planes simply by the number of times you’ve flown, whether it was a short commuter hop or an intercontinental long haul.   Now, you can also select “Sort by… Mileage” to rank them by distance flown, which gives a better reflection of where you’ve spent your time.

Top 10, 20 or 50: And now you’re not limited to a list of the top 10, another pulldown lets you show up to the top 50.

And it looks nicer: We’ve tweaked the appearance of the Top 10 lists, so they look better in Internet Explorer as well as Firefox.

Country count: Over at Analyze, the number of countries you’ve visited is now shown.

Average flight: In addition to the shortest and longest flight, a theoretical “Average flight” is also computed, showing how long in distance and duration your flights usually are.

If you’re interested in sitewide statistics as well as your own, take a look at the About page, which is updated nightly.  Anything else you’d like to see?

Ecstatistically yours,