Track Satelites in Real Time

Geeks generally like a bit of science and space stuff in their life as well as computers and the like. That’s why when I found this site I thought it was as cool as.

There are an absolute junk yard of metal flying above us right now. Now wouldn’t it be cool if you knew there was a piece of that junk in the form of a satellite right above you? Then you could lift your butt off that chair, run outside and take a look. Two birds with one stone then, you can say that you have been outside and that you saw a satellite.

Real Time Satellite Tracking does just that. It uses the Google Maps API and Ajax to overlay a small satellite image and track with dots, it’s path. There are heaps of different objects to track. If you have no idea where to start then you can start with the most popular list:

  • ISS
  • HUBBLE
  • SWIFT
  • GENISIS-1
  • SOLAR-B
  • GENESAT-1

Other lists include; Most Recent, Brightest, Geostationary, GPS Operational, Military, Amateur Radio and Weather. You can access those right from the homepage. The site also gives some very interesting information about the currently tracked satellite such as speed, longitude and latitude and more.

At the time of writing this the ISS was doing about 6km/sec (crap). Most importantly it tell you what the position in the sky is or will be. There are also predicted positions and time, so you can plan to see one as it comes into view. This is the predictions page for the ISS [Note that this is for my time zone +1000GMT]. I am refering to the ISS because when I took the screenshot that was the satellite that was over Australia, thought that was excellent. See below, small but you get the idea.

The other thing that I thought was great was the fact that there is a detailed page on every satellite. Very much a summary page, but a great launch pad to get more information.

If you are into this type of thing, then you can create an account and add whatever satellites you want to track to your account. Nice touch. There is heaps more stuff here than I have talked about and there’s also some interesting links to some more great sites. I am sure there is something that will spark your interest.

This site is “no frills” but it has the good, great fun and is bound to get you off your behind. Is there no end to what developers are going to use the Google Maps API for? I liked it and it is in my bookmarks… I really want to see that ISS, I can see some trips to the roof in the next week.

Real Time Satellite Tracking

Track Visitors to Your Blog Easily With Clicky

Clicky is a visitor tracking service that has been designed for use with blogs but works on any website. While they do not claim to replace a statistics and monitoring service like Google Analytics or SiteMeter it is said to be a complimentary service to augment your current tools for observing your traffic. While services such as those mentioned give you a “big picture, Clicky gives you a macro version of individual users. Lets you know how individuals visitors are interacting with your site.

Individual users are grouped into sessions, information includes:

  • IP Address
  • Web Browser of choice
  • The page and URL that they are viewing
  • Date and time
  • Referrer
  • If they came via a search engine, which one and what search string they used

If a particular visitor has Java Script disabled, no problem; it still works. Although the information gathered is limited and such things as the referrer can not be accessed. (So much for “No Script” Firefox Extension…) . Every click that is made on your site is logged and sent to your account with Clicky for you to view when you log in. I am not sure what you think about this but it does make me feel a bit creepy and makes me wonder what is going to be done with the information once it is sent to Clicky. They do however give this reassurance:

“We are not out to get you. We have no reason to secretly look at your visitor traffic. We may randomly use some of our customer’s traffic data for bug fixing or feature development, but other than that, your traffic data is yours and we will respect your privacy.”

That may be the case now but I wonder how much money it would take for them to change their minds? However this is not a warning off the service, rather something to keep in mind if you are considering using it.

I guess that you figured that you have to cut and paste some code to your web page, you guessed right. They claim that it works on any web page. There are instructions for use with Blogger and even WordPress.com. Only the Blogger code is shown on the information page. I am no code monkey but it looks like there is a script in the code shown. As all WordPress.com users know all code containing script is stripped when you try to put it on a page or a sidebar widget. So unless the code is different for WordPress.com blogs then I can not see how it would work. Feel free to comment on this if you know for sure or why I might be wrong.

The service offers a variety of ways to view the information gathered:

  • Dashboard: or quick summary and overview
  • Click Log: This is the raw data with no groupings or data processing
  • Sessions: A log of an entire visitors click “history” while they were on your site
  • Filters: To drill down into your data and make what sense of it you want to

At this time the service is in beta and free. Once it launches they plan to charge a “reasonable” fee (no hints). It is worth noting that there are other sites that track individual users. Such as Crazy Egg that uses a “heat map” to display the “hot spots” or frequently clicked parts of your site. This type of tracking is a fine line, I have to admit I would have reservations about using it. It does feel a bit intrusive. But that is just me, what do you think?