Can ADS-B be used for ATM research?

Flight data are essential for Air Traffic Management (ATM) research to get a better understanding of the performance of today’s ATM system and the design and validation of new concepts, procedures, and systems. Typically, data from radar surveillance systems operated and owned by air navigation service providers (ANSPs) are used. However, ANSPs are not always prepared or willing to make (large volumes of) radar data available to third parties. Also, it can take a long time before data is made available and sometimes the compensation asked is very high. In most cases Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) data is a good alternative for radar data. ADS-B data is easily accessible at low cost.

What is ADS-B?

ADS-B is a cooperative surveillance technology in which an aircraft determines its position via satellite navigation and periodically broadcasts it, enabling it to be tracked. ADS-B is an integral part of the future ATM systems SESAR and NextGen. Most modern aircraft are already ADS-B capable and mandates for full ADS-B equipage are upcoming (EU No 1207/2011). ADS-B data broadcast by aircraft can be received using off-the-shelf receivers. The data of these receivers shall not be used for operational purposes, but they provide high quality flight data that can be used for research purposes.

Get access to ADS-B data

ADS-B data is readily available via various open data sources like and the OpenSky Network. While these are great initiatives that involve the interested public to set up ADS-B receivers and share data, their coverage cannot be guaranteed. Setting up your own receiver gives full control over the system and the data.

That’s why since 2007 To70 collects ADS-B data with a dedicated network of ADS-B receivers for traffic analyses and visualizations. If necessary, we (temporarily) set up an ADS-B receiver to collect data. Additionally, To70 supports clients in setting up their own network of ADS-B receivers as well as assists in the analysis.

About To70. To70 is one of the world’s leading aviation consultancies, founded in the Netherlands with offices in Europe, Australia, Asia, and Latin America. To70 believes that society’s growing demand for transport and mobility can be met in a safe, efficient, environmentally friendly and economically viable manner. For more information please refer to

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