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

Trains, planes and automobiles

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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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