Ground elevation tracking has returned! You'll find ground elevations displayed in green on your 'Horizontal Profile' for all flights flown in the last few days and any new flights. This used to be a feature of vataware but had to be disabled when vataware moved to its present datacenter approximately 18 months ago. Older flights will be 'caught up' as time allows; there are approximately 18 months of flights, meaning millions of flights and hundreds of millions of individual position reports that have to be processed.
For those interested in the technical details, the way this is done is quite groovy, if I do say so myself. NOAA's GLOBE data, accurate to 30 arc-seconds (.5 NM), is used as a base dataset for the entire world. For areas where it is available (principally the USA), the SRTM elevation data that was gathered from the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 2000 is used instead. This data is accurate to a resolution of 1 arc-second, or just 30 meters!
The system can query elevations at a rate of about 100 latitude/longitude pairs per second, but since they need to be inserted into the vataware database, and it is set to run at a fairly low priority to not interfere with the regular use of the site, the 'catch-up' process runs considerably slower, and may take several months to complete.
Goodbye vataware forums, hello vataware Support Center.
Don't get me wrong. I'm all about forums. I participate in them daily. But deleting 80+ spammer accounts per day was getting to be tedious and prevented me from spending time actually fixing people's issues, adding airlines, etc. So now we're on a new system, and it's been going great. If you have a question, a suggestion, or a problem, http://support.vataware.com/ is the place to go. You can create a discussion just using your email address, or if you already have a vataware account, login at vataware first and then go back and you'll be auto-magically set up.
More news to come on the support front... soon!
After over three and a half years of running vataware, I've decided it's time to have an all-in-one place to push out news of new features, what's happening with the site, bugfixes, or any other news of note. Except in the case of a site downtime or outage, I'll keep the post volume to no more than one per day.
I encourage you to subscribe to the site using your favorite RSS reader using the big orange button at the top right of every page. That way you'll never miss a thing! Or you can keep up with us on the vataware Twitter or Facebook, too...