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May 25, 2011

There Are No Secrets: WSJ Jet Tracker, Easy Pass

This is kind of cool, in an Information Wants to be Free sort of way. (I don't subscribe to that concept, I don't think that information wants anything; my view is "Information is increasingly difficult to keep secret or control".)

This story reports that the Wall Street Journal has obtained a copy of the entire Enhanced Traffic Management System (ETMS) database, which contains flight records for aircraft that flew in the U.S. under instrument flight rules. The Journal analyzed the flight data for non-airline, non-military jet aircraft traffic for a four-year period, 2007 through 2010.

The Cool 2.0 thing to do with that data, of course, is to make it available on the web so that other people can do their own cool things with it, and that's exactly what they've done at

The flights are indexed by the business that's operating them, so it's not just a list of N-numbers (airplane license plate numbers) - you can search it by corporation. The caveat is that over a 4-year timeframe in a M&A environment, you need to be aware of previous and subsequent corporate names.

Fractional ownership, charter flights, and turboprops are not represented - just corporate-owned jets.

For instance,
Where did Mellon Financial jets go in 2007-2010?

I'm thinking that some clever person familiar with the geographic location of companies could connect the dots in some interesting ways. A mashup with Twitter, Facebook, or FourSquare geo-tags would help.

There really are no secrets, and no privacy, anymore.
Got an EasyPass?


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