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I was delighted to find out that Local Live is able to search by airport codes. Google Maps also has this feature for some time, I don't know for how long, as such small updates aren't usually announced, so it's not clear who was first and who just caught up. Anyways, it was interesting to see how each map handles this task. Apparently, both pretty much suck, but each in its own lovely way. Local Live can search by three character FAA airport code, i.e. DFW is the identifier for Dallas-Fort Worth International. Don’t try to search for this airport using four characters ICAO identifier (KDFW) - you will end up in West Africa. If you’re heading to Moscow Sheremetyevo (UUEE) it will toss you to another side of African continent (why do they think that all unknown locations must be in Africa?). You will have better luck with IATA identifier for this airport – SVO..

 

Google Maps, in turn, will reliably point to DFW using either code. But what if you’re looking for something smaller than bunch of 12,000ft runways? Google Maps is pretty comfortable with many smaller airports although you’ll have more chances with four letter identifiers. For example, it won’t find GKY (Arlington Municipal Airport) or GPM (Grand Prairie Municipal) but will locate them using KGKY and KGPM. At the same time, other airports like Addison (ADS) or McKinney (TKI) can be located using three characters FAA identifier. But all fails if one needs to find small airports. Google Maps won’t help finding T31/KT31 (Aero Country) or any other similar down to the earth airport (that’s where, as we all heard, real pilots fly J ). Will Local Live do better? No. KT31 is not identified as an airport by Live engine and T31… is found on the southeast edge of Texas in Port Isabel, TX instead of just north off Dallas! It just shows that Local Live uses basic and an awfully outdated airports database (Port Isabel was reassigned from T31 to PIL in 1998).

 

Of course, these sources weren’t intended for flight planning, that's what FAA publications are for. The question is whether adding a feature just for the sake of itself justifies the erroneous and confusing information it serves. Online map providers in the race against each other often forget that main feature of the map must be reliable map and location information. And by the way, good sites to locate airports: www.airpnav.com, www.skyvector.com. Smooth landings!

Posted on Wednesday, May 2, 2007 12:21 AM Digital Media , Aviation | Back to top


Comments on this post: Locating Airports - Google or Local Live? Neither.

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t for the sake of itself justifies the erroneous and confusing information it serves. Online map providers in the race against each other often forget that main feature of the map must be reliable map and location
Left by ugg australia boots on Aug 23, 2010 11:57 PM

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