OurAirports is a free site where visitors can explore the world's airports, read other people's comments, and leave their own. The help pages have information to help you get started.
The site is dedicated to both passengers and pilots. You can create your own, personal map of the airports you've visited and share that map with other people. You can find the closest airports to your home airport, and find the ones that you haven't visited yet. Find every airport in a country or region. Or go to The Big Map and zoom into to any spot in the world to see where the airports are.
OurAirports does not treat your personal information as a commodity: that means that we don't buy it, sell it, or use it to spam you. Still, privacy on the modern web is a tricky thing, and there are some points that you should be aware of:
OurAirports is a public site, and by "public", we mean PUBLIC. All content you explicitly submit to OurAirports through forms aside from your password, email address, and searches is released into Public Domain and can be viewed by anyone on the web, including search engines.
That means that your user name and description of yourself, the airports you've flagged as visited, every comment you leave, every message you send to another member, every correction you make to airport data, and your home airport (if you name it) are out there, on the web. This is an open-data web site, after all, and we don't believe that "open" means "we can benefit from it, but we'll hide it from everyone else".
Like nearly every site on the web, we log network activity. That means that we know the Internet address that you connected from and, most of the time, the URL of the web page that referred you to us. If you're logged in, we also have your login name, and any information associated with it.
We don't do anything evil with all that network-level information (in fact, we don't do anything good either, because this is a hobby/volunteer site, and no one has time to look at server logs). You should know, however, that any intermediary on the web (such as a firewall or proxy) that you connect through can also get this information.
That means that your Internet service provider probably has that information as well, and we can't help what they do with it (knowing hotels, phone companies, big soul-less employers, and universities, they could well be doing evil things). If you're using open WiFi in an airport or coffee shop, everyone there can also see this information if they install some simple sniffing software on their laptops. If you don't want intermediaries to see what you're doing (e.g. you're trying to get your family out of a dangerous country, and looking for the best exit airport), you can connect to all web sites via a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which will hide your web activity from anyone trying to snoop on it.
If (and only if) you ask us to, OurAirports uses the W3C Geolocation API to obtain your current location from your web browser and prefill the latitude and longitude into the OurAirports search box.
We can't get your location information unless you tell your browser/smartphone that we're allowed to, and even then, we use it only when you explicitly click on a link (not every time you visit a page on the site). The information goes back to us as a search request that indistinguishable from if you typed the latitude and longitude manually. We do not store your location in any way, except as it might appear in search requests, and we don't know if the search requests are your current location, or just a location you're interested in. See below, however, for other possible privacy issues outside our control.
The maps in OurAirports are provided through the Google Maps API. While OurAirports supplies some of the text and icons in the map, Google controls the part of the screen where the map appears, communicating directly with your browser, so OurAirports has no control over cookies or other information that may flow back and forth between your browser and Google.
The ads that appear on the right side of many OurAirports screens are provided by the Google AdSense program. As of July 2011, our revenue from ads is approximately $150-250/month, which covers hosting costs for the site, but little or none of the effort spent developing and maintaining it (in a good month, what's left over after hosting pays for a few visits to a good coffee shop). Nobody's job depends on this ad revenue, so please don't feel guilty if you choose to block these ads using an ad-filtering browser add-on like Adblock Plus.
Like much of the web, OurAirports also uses Google Analytics to collect anonymized information about how much traffic the web site gets, how people use it, and the parts of the world those people come from. If you would like to opt out from having Google Analytics collect information on the web sites you visit (not just OurAirports), Google provides an Opt-out browser add-on. There are also third-party add-ons to various browsers to block analytics.
This site was created by David Megginson, a private pilot, frequent airline passenger, co-founder of Acclar Open Aid Data, and owner of a one-person consulting company. When he has time, David blogs about flying in Land and Hold Short, and about IT matters in Quoderat.
Of course, this site takes advantage of many other people's work. Special thanks to ...
- the U.S. government for providing free airport data through the FAA and the now-discontinued (and much-missed) DAFIF;
- George Plews for maintaining an up-to-date data list of all Canadian airports and seaplane bases;
- Marc Wick at Geonames for permission to run thousands of batch queries against his geolocation APIs;
- all the contributors who have supplied airport data to Paul Tomblin's navaid.com site;
- all the contributors who have supplied airport data to the SoaringWeb.org and Great Circle Mapper sites;
- the list of North Korean airports at the FAS report;
- Raul Robledo, for information on thousands of Brazilian airports.
- the Kwik Navigation Flight Planner site, which contains information about hundreds of Australian airports;
- the many authors of Wikipedia for creating and maintaining so many useful geographical and aeronautical lists;
- Google Maps for providing a free, high-quality mapping API and geocoder;
- my spouse, Bonnie, who has helped with OurAirports while working on her own web series, Sweet Tarts Takeaway; and
- all the passengers and pilots who have sent airport data, corrections, and comments to OurAirports, especially our top contributors, who volunteer many hours of their time every month keeping constantly-changing airport information up to date.