ADS-B Exchange

How to set up a connection to ADS-B Exchange

ADS-B Exchange currently offers two ways to connect to them for fetching tracking data:

  • As a subscription through RapidAPI, which requires you to register with RapidAPI, subscribe to ADSBEx's API and provide credit card details (details below), or

  • if you operate an ADS-B receive and are feeding ADS-B data to ADS-B Exchange, then you can request an API key directly from ADSBEx (details below)

Also, please see their usage Terms & Conditions. If interested in API details see their documentation.

LiveTraffic Settings

Find them in Settings > Input Channels > ADS-B Exchange:

Settings > Input Channels > ADS-B Exchange
Same settings after successful entry of a RAPID API key

Setting

Default

Description

ADS-B Exchange

Disabled, inactive

Enables usage of ADS-B Exchange as a live flight data channel. This setting is only available if you filled in an API key in the next field.

ADSBX Radar View

This link opens the ADSBX Radar View, in which you can check coverage.

API Key

<empty>

Paste or enter your API Key into this edit field. See below for options how to come by an API key. A button "Test and Save key" appears when you enter the key: Click the button to have LiveTraffic send a test request to ADS-B Exchange for validation of the key. If the test succeeded the key is saved to your settings and the channel enabled, otherwise not.

The "eye" button toggles if the key is shown as clear text or hidden as stars.

...RAPID API requests left

<empty>

If ADSBEx is running with a RapidAPI key, then LiveTraffic shows the remaining quota as reported by RapidAPI.

ADS-B Exchange

I did my best to verify the information on this page, but I can't guarantee for it to be correct, complete, and always up-to-date. This all depends on how ADS-B Exchange offers the data and how RapidAPI works. Please also read their documentation, many links are provided throughout the document. It is their service in the end, not mine. But I am happy to correct things if you point them out, e.g. in the support forum.

This way has been introduced in May 2019 and has originally been designed with plugins like LiveTraffic in mind, which need only a very specific access to tracking data, namely aircraft in a defined radius around a center location. Please see the available subscription plans. There might be a free option to test the plan for a limited number of requests. For other plans there is a monthly subscription fee. All fees go to ADS-B Exchange. LiveTraffic and its author are not affiliated with ADS-B Exchange and I don't receive any gratitudes etc.

As of May 2019, all plans include a limited number of requests per month. If you exceed this quota then you pay for every single additional request made by LiveTraffic. This is why you have to provide credit card details even for the 0$ option.

LiveTraffic sends requests in regular intervals as configured in Live data refresh in the Advanced Settings. By default this is 20s or 3 requests per minute. If your quota is, say 360 requests per month, then this converts to 120 minutes = 2 hours of simulation time. Would you configure the refresh rate to be 10s, then LiveTraffic would send 6 requests per minute and the 360 request quota is emptied after just one hour. (See below regarding monitoring usage.)

To connect to ADS-B Exchange via RapidAPI do as follows:

  1. Register with RapidAPI, click on the "Sign up" link on their homepage and follow instructions for creating an account. Registration by itself is free.

  2. Go to the ADSBEx Flight Sim Traffic API pricing page and select a plan by clicking its "Subscribe" button. You will be asked for credit card details. (Tip: The last field is for your zip / post code.)

  3. Once you are subscribed go to the "Endpoints" page of the ADSBEx Flight Sim Traffic API and find you API key in the field X-RapidAPI-Key consisting of a long series of 50 digits and letters. From the Code Snippets on the right hand side, the key can be easily copied, screenshot below.

  4. Back in LiveTraffic, paste this key into Settings > Input Channels > ADS-B Exchange > API Key, see above.

At Rapid API, make sure to go to "ADSBx Flight Sim Traffic" and not to "ADSBexchange.com"!

"Endpoints" page, locations of the key, copy from a code snippet on the right

Also, the number of remaining requests as per your subscription plan's quota is shown (red arrow in screenshot above).

Now you can re-enable the ADS-B Exchange channel and (re-)activate Show Live Aircraft, so that LiveTraffic starts requesting tracking data from ADS-B Exchange.

Monitoring API Usage

LiveTraffic shows the number of remaining API requests of your monthly quota in the Basic Settings, see the above screenshot, the red arrow points to the numbers. This information is returned by RapidAPI with every network responce received. It is not tracked by LiveTraffic. It really is RapidAPI's information. Hence it should be fairly accurate.

You can (and probably should) also monitor your usage directly at RapidAPI. RapidAPI has some documentation on monitoring API usage.

API Key directly from ADS-B Exchange

You can request an API key directly from ADS-B Exchange if and only if you are actively feeding ADS-B data into the ADS-B network by operating your own ADS-B receiver. ADS-B Exchange offers help on how to set up receivers.

If you feed ADS-B Exchange, the go to https://www.adsbexchange.com/myip/, make a screenshot of the output, which contains details of what you feed to ADSBEx, and request a key from ADSBEx via their contact page.

You will receive a key currently in the format ########-####-####-####-############. Paste this key into Settings > Input Channels > ADS-B Exchange > API Key, see above.