5 Methods for Tracking Planes and Ships That Aren’t Twitter
With the new ban on live-tracking going into effect along with the other constantly shifting changes taking place over on Twitter, I thought it would be useful to post some alternative places to get your live-tracking information for plane and ship tracking.
1. Other Social Media Sites
Twitter may be imploding but Analysts are seeking other places to post their live tracking and analysis. Mastodon seems like the next best choice as everyone migrates away from Twitter but be careful to not discount information found on sites like Reddit, Instagram, and TikTok. The key will be to follow trusted names who may have previously been verified on Twitter as well as verify any information found (which should be done with any data found on Social Media). The trick to finding information on Mastodon across servers is through hashtag searches.
A few hashtags to follow on Mastodon are:
- #(insert ship or plane name or number here)
2. Discord Servers
Many of the current Analysts and Journalists already reside in a few well-known Discord servers and will no doubt switch over to posting their live tracking on the servers as Twitter dies. Many servers have specific channels for transportation or plane and ship information.
3. Blogs and Websites
While blogs are definitely a slower media than Twitter, many live tracking Analysts have voiced that they will move their content over to their own blog to continue their ongoing investigations. I expect in the future we will also see the development of more web-based alerting apps like the Live Universal Awareness Map where incidents are reported in near real-time.
4. Go To The Source
It may seem obvious but we can often use social media accounts straight from the source that provides tracking for us. For instance, following hashtags for a country’s navy or airforce will often provide information that we can use in our investigations. It is important to note that these posts are generally not real-time for safety and situational awareness purposes however they can still provide value. Try searching hashtags and account names across many social media sites that include the name of the ship or aircraft, identification numbers, strike group name, squadron, wing, command, etc. Additionally, check their websites for updated content and military exercise information that may indicate where the aircraft or vessels are located.
5. Use Tracking Sites
I know it is easier to rely on other Analysts to report their findings and apply them to your work but if you were pulling most of your real-time tracking analysis from Twitter maybe it is time to cut out the middleman and learn to track yourself. Using sites like ADSB Exchange, Marine Traffic, Vessel Finder, and Flight Radar 24 we can track vessels and air traffic for free. There are tons of great (and free!) resources to learn how to track using these platforms, some include:
As you can see, all hope is not lost if Twitter goes away. Analysts will always find a way to document their findings and it is just up to us to find them. Hopefully in the future platforms like Twitter will realize the monumental value that they provide for security and journalism and see it as a resource instead of a nuisance but until then I will follow my friends to whichever platform we decide on.
If you want to learn more about transportation tracking and OSINT including Aircraft, Vessels, Trains, and Automobiles be sure to check out my new book Deep Dive: Exploring the Real World Value of Open Source Intelligence. Preorder is open now anywhere books are sold