Usenet.com.au is a web interface to Usenet newsgroups. One of the more popular newsgroups is aus.aviation with several-thousand page views a day. Rarely a day goes by where I don’t quickly log on just to check on what’s happening and monitor for any abuse of the service. It was at Usenet.com.au where I got the idea for
A lot of what I write about is orientated around flying, and a lot of the web applications I write are also geared towards aviation. A few days ago, a user posted a request for a web site that had aeronautical waypoint information… something that is actually requested quite regularly by pilots and enthusiasts for a whole range of reasons. I had previously built a very basic waypoint search on a web site at www.fight.org – which is temporarily down while it undergoes serious renovation – but there was no good reason why I couldn’t throw up the search script and database as a standalone product in response to this poster’s request.
What was initially meant to be a quick hack turned into a complete rewrite of the search script which includes slightly optimised code and a little bit of added functionality.
In the spirit of other sites I’ve done in the last few weeks, the very simple and single search box is used in lieu of complicated dropdown boxes, and the search data either returns a single result detailing all the applicable information relating to a single aeronautical waypoint or – if the search fails to find an exact match – the script will output partial matches from the database. As an example, the search term YSSY will output information on Sydney International Airport, but a search term of Sydney will return all results that include the text Sydney. If any exact waypoint match is found, numerous links are provided to other web sites with various types of imagery on that location.
The script will also return designated waypoint routes (by way of a dropdown div area) and, using the Google map API, an image of the location will be rendered on the page.
The search will soon be integrated with the yet-to-be-released flight.org, but at the moment, it is posted on a spare aviation domain,
flying.net.au Waypoints.ws. Like everything I do, it’s motivated in part by the Google Adword revenue which I’ll write about in lots of other posts!
Visit the site here
Edit: 30th December 2009
It was a long time ago that I built this little site. I’ve learned so much from this site about so many things that it warrants another blog post soon.
The most notable changes since I originally wrote the above post are as follows: I no longer use or even have flying.net.au registered. I’m cutting down on my 1000+ domain names and I fail to see sense in having an Australian specific domain with a .net extension. Some spammer has now picked up the domain name (that’s another story – I hate it when that happens). I now have it hosted at waypoints.ws and the site is doing very well given that it has such a narrow market.
What will I be doing with this website? Well, first, I’ll be building in weather and aircraft traffic information. Second, I’ll be mapping out flight paths on Google maps. Third, I’ll be adding international waypoints. I will now make this website into a nice little stand-alone resource and, rather than intergrating into flight.org, I’ll be linking to it as another site in the broader network.
I look forward to some of your ideas and suggestions!
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