dump1090 is software that will decode ADS-B transmissions from nearby aircraft. ADS-B transmissions include information like aircraft tail number, latitude, longitude, airspeed and other telemetry data.

Your degree of success will depend on which SDR device you have. The NooElec NESDR Mini 2 is cheap and pretty good, though.

Prerequisites

  • A Mac. This software also runs on Linux, and I believe, Windows, but the instructions may be different.
  • A supported SDR device.
  • XCode installed and updated
  • Homebrew installed.

Instructions

  1. Open Terminal.
  2. Run brew update and then brew install librtlsdr.
  3. Run git clone https://github.com/antirez/dump1090.git
  4. Do a cd dump1090 and then run make. You should soon have a dump1090 executable in the current directory.
  5. Plug your SDR USB device into your Mac.
  6. Run ./dump1090 --interactive.