Setting Up Piaware And Dump1090-mutability On Raspbian, Ubuntu, or Debian

Published Published October 2nd, 2015

A couple days ago the SD card in my Raspberry Pi feeding data to FlightAware using the Piaware image they supply on their site became "damaged" and needed to be replaced. I decided that this time around instead of using the Piaware image I would setup up the software on a Raspbian Jessie image myself and instead of using the FlightAware version of dump1090 install dump1090-mutability. While waiting on the new SD card to be shipped I decided to do a test install on a Hyper-V based Ubuntu 15.04 virtual machine. Things went very smooth and I come to find out the steps were the same when I ran the setup on Raspian Jessie. These steps were tested on Debian Jessie as well with a slight change in commands needed to reload the applications. If using Debian refer to the update at the end of this article.

The following are the steps I used to set up Piaware and dump1090-mutability both Raspbian Jessie and Ubuntu 15.04 to feed flight data to FlightAware. Both systems were tested to ensure data was actually being sent to FlightAware. I see no reason as to why these instructions would not work on Debian as well.

Update the system.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

If you are running a Raspberry Pi you may wish to update the firmware as well.

sudo rpi-update

Install prerequisite packages needed to build both Piaware and dump1090-mutability.

sudo apt-get install build-essential debhelper librtlsdr-dev libusb-1.0-0-dev pkg-config tcl8.5-dev autoconf python3-dev python-virtualenv libz-dev git tclx8.4 tcllib tcl-tls itcl3

Next enter your home directory and clone the git repository for dump1090-mutability and build the package to be installed.

mkdir ~/build
cd ~/build
git clone
cd ~/build/dump1090
dpkg-buildpackage -b

Now clone the the Piaware Debian Package Builder and create the package which will be used to install Piaware.

cd ~/build
git clone
cd ~/build/piaware_builder
cd ~/build/piaware_builder/package
dpkg-buildpackage -b

It is now time to install the newly created Piaware and dump1090-mutability packages. When installing dump1090-mutability you will be asked if you want it to automatically start. Generally you will want to answer yes to this question.

sudo dpkg -i ~/build/dump1090-mutability_1.15~dev_*.deb
sudo dpkg -i ~/build/piaware_builder/piaware_2.1-3_*.deb

Changes were made to Piaware with the release of v2.1-3.

"Piaware now sends mlat results to port 30104 by default. This change is to try to avoid accidentally feeding mlat results to a dump1090 that is not mlat-aware and may forward the results on unexpectedly (e.g. to other feeder software that doesn't expect to see them)."

If you want MLAT results sent to dump1090-mutability you will need to complete one of two options.

1) EITHER have Piaware use the older default port 30004 to send data.

sudo piaware-config -mlatResultsFormat beast,connect,localhost:30004
sudo /etc/init.d/piaware restart

2) OR configure dump1090-mutability to listen for the data on the new port 30104.

sudo nano /etc/default/dump1090-mutability
Change the line BEAST_INPUT_PORT="30004" to BEAST_INPUT_PORT="30104" then reload dump1090-mutability.
sudo /etc/init.d/dump1090-mutability force-reload

Now associate your Piaware device with your FlightAware account.

sudo piaware-config -user <YOUR FLIGHTAWARE LOGIN> -password
sudo /etc/init.d/piaware restart

At this point you will have a working Piaware feeder. This step is optional and will cover setting up Lighttpd so you can view aircraft being tracked by your receiver in a browser. The following commands will install Lighttpd and the dump1090 mod. After completing the following commands you can view the dump1090 web interface by browsing to http://<YOUR RECIEVERS IP ADDRESS>/dump1090.

sudo apt-get install lighttpd
sudo lighty-enable-mod dump1090
sudo /etc/init.d/lighttpd force-reload


Added October 3rd, 2015

Debian 8.2.0 Jessie Tested

I tested and confirmed that the installation process is the same on Debian as as it is for Raspbian and Ubuntu.