Track the World's Commercial Air Traffic with Flightradar24's CesiumJS App
by Sarah Chow
Every day, more than 100,000 commercial flights carry passengers around the world. At any given moment, you can see the real-time location of virtually all of those flights, not to mention a large portion of cargo and private flights, with Flightradar24, the premier flight tracking service.
Flightradar24 offers a wealth of data for plane enthusiasts watching the skies above them, for news outlets tracking air traffic incidents, and for ordinary people following the flights of friends and family.
Flightradar24’s 3D view, available in both the browser and mobile apps, is built with CesiumJS. The app shows the real-time location of flights, collected from terrestrial and satellite-based ADS-B transponders, radar, and more.
The 3D view in Flightradar24.
Planes are represented by a 3D model, which viewers can explore with a cockpit view, or from outside the plane, where they can pan and zoom to see the flight from any angle. When an aircraft is below 500 m, it also casts a shadow on the terrain below, calculated by the actual position of the sun at the time.
An aircraft in the 3D view cast shadows as they descend toward the airport.
Users can click on a flight to view details, such as flight number, speed, destination, altitude, and arrival time, as well as the data source. Viewers can see airports and other traffic, and can even switch flight paths.
In addition to the selected flight, users can see nearby aircraft.
Flightradar24’s real-time data provides vital information to millions of users every month—a use case Cesium was specifically designed to support. Learn how to build a 3D flight tracker like this, with real data from FlightRadar24.