For years now I’ve been providing aeronautical data for various programs – The Wayback Machine shows it existing in 2001, but I’m pretty sure I was running it before then. The site hasn’t changed much visually since then, since I concentrated on providing good data rather than prettying up the site. But I thought I was providing a good free service and it was worth it to people. I didn’t really push it hard, but I did politely ask for donations, through Paypal and at one time through the “Amazon Honor System” until Amazon killed that. And for a long time, I made about 1/4 to 1/2 as much through that as it cost me in hosting and data costs. But that hasn’t been true for a long time. I just looked at my Paypal history for the last 12 months, and I got two donations of $25 each, one of $3.32 and one of $1.13 (yeah, go figure). $54.45 in a year. That’s it. That doesn’t keep me in thumb drives.
Add on to that the fact that my source of world-wide data, the DAFIF file, hasn’t been updated since 2006 and it’s increasingly been a “US data plus some airport data from here and there”, and I’m worried about presenting this to the world as useful data for anything. I’ve always staunchly maintained that this is just to save you from a bit of data entry for flight planning and not a substitute for official data sources, but it’s just embarrassing to think somebody is going to be looking for navaids and waypoints in Europe, say, and not finding anything that’s still in use. At least airports don’t tend to move around much.
And because the data I have is getting stale, I keep hoping that people would provide feedback on the data I have, offering to provide data for their area or just letting me know if something is wrong. At one time I had a couple of people sending me their data sets which I incorporated into the database. (Although I did have one set of data for Australia where all the airports had the sign of their longitude reversed – I’m pretty sure I purged the last of that.) That was actually more important than the donations to me. It showed people were using the data, and cared when it was wrong.
So I guess what I’m saying is that I’m reconsidering if it’s worth doing this. I’ll still maintain the data for the CoPilot iOS app, that’s a separate database and thanks to Laurie Davis I get world wide data from Eurocontrol that that. But next time I get a data dump from the FAA (September 19th), I’m going to give some thought over whether to load it into both database, or just the CoPilot iOS one.