It came into being when I was looking at plugins simulating additional traffic in X-Plane and thinking at that time: Why do they try to simulate traffic and invent flight models when there is flight data available online which brings yet another piece of reality into the simulation? Why can't one just read the data and display the aircraft?
Well...turned out it's not that easy
I spent an awful lot of time dealing with the inaccuracies of the data sources, see Limitations. There are only timestamps and positions. Heading and speed is point-in-time info but not a reliable vector to the next position. There is no information on pitch or bank angle, or on gear or flaps positions. There is no info where exactly a plane touched or left ground. There are several data feeders, which aren't in synch and contradict each other.
So I ended up inventing my own flight models to make aircraft move more or less smoothly from one data point to the next, extend gear and flaps, pitch up an down, flare, rotate etc.
Because an airport is a naturally interesting hot spot of plane movements, but due to simple physics often only sparingly covered with ADS-B receivers and hence live data, there is even lots of code to simulate final approach, landing, and roll-out for planes for which data coverage ends during approach.
There is extensive "data cleansing", which removes up to half the data...and many thanks here to "my" beta testers, who spent hours to find, test out, and document hot spots of inaccuracies in the world!
Available and downloadable from X-Plane.org.
MIT License, essentially freeware.
Open Source, available on GitHub.
And as I keep getting questions to that respect: It means LiveTraffic is freeware at no cost. Now and in the future. I will not even provide an option for donations.
Instead, consider supporting the tracking data services, which provide the raw data, which LiveTraffic only enables to show traffic.
Man thanks to my beta testers 172MC, Flap, GAK, safeflight, FlyMe2dMoon, KosFlyer, akports103, Torkermax, and mainbrain!
Thanks to sparker for providing the Linux build environment based on Docker.
LiveTraffic is based on a number of other great libraries and APIs, most notably:
X-Plane APIs to integrate with X-Plane
CURL for network protocol support
parson as JSON parser
libpng, required by libxplanemp
libz/zlib, required by libpng
And let's not forget about the CSL model developers like Bluebell, Oktalist, and X-CSL, to name just a few. Without them there would only be labels in the sky but no planes.