For a few years now, pilots have been tracking the development of the ADS-B network. This series of ground stations throughout the US forms the backbone of the FAA’s NextGen air traffic control system, and is also the source of free in-flight weather information for portable receivers like the Stratus and GDL 39. Without good ADS-B coverage, these devices aren’t worth much.
The FAA has consistently quoted “by the end of 2014” as a date for completion of the entire network. Based on the latest coverage map, this date seems realistic. Coverage is filling in rapidly, and most of the US is now covered.
The map below shows the locations of all ADS-B ground stations in dark blue. The lighter blue circles estimate coverage at 1500 ft. AGL. Note that coverage gets even better as you climb higher, so at 8000 ft. (for example) most of the small gaps fill in. However, since ADS-B is based on line of sight, mountainous terrain can reduce coverage in the West.
Click on the map for a larger image.
To see how the network has grown over the past years, we’ve created an animated image that shows the ground stations grow. Click here to watch the animation.