WheresThatSat Preview

As I’ve mentioned a few times, I’m making a bot called WheresThatSat¬†which is basically a Twitter interface to Ground Track Generator, my satellite-path-mapping program. The bot responds to queries about satellites (it knows of many – you might even say it has detailed files) by reporting their location at the time they were mentioned.

This week I’ve been making a complementary web site that displays more information (altitude, speed, heading, etc.) along with a Google Map rendition of the satellite’s recent path. The bot will include a map link with each response. The site isn’t finished yet (some icons and styles are still placeholders), but here’s sneak peak:

My goal is to get things working smoothly enough to let WheresThatSat resume running later this week, at least on a trial basis. Although the bot could search for and reply to any mention of the many satellites it knows about, I’ve decided it will only post unsolicited responses to a sample of tweets about one or two “in the news” satellites (queries explicitly addressed to @WheresThatSat will, of course, have access to a full catalog of satellites). This is partly a matter of manners and partly a matter of avoiding excessive API calls (Twitter imposes rate limits on how frequently programs can interact with it).

Posted on Sunday, April 22nd, 2012. Tags: , .