This is the coolest thing. I am aboard a Lufthansa 747 en route to Germany, and I am seeing my 3-D flight path in real time in Google Earth.
The yellow line is our flight path. It begins in the place where I started up Google Earth — so you can figure out that it took me from Denver to Minnesota to think of this — and it updates every minute. The vertical yellow lines show our altitude above ground. That’s Lake Superior in the upper right. (In the few minutes since I took that screenshot, we’ve crossed into Canada).
This is all thanks to Boeing’s high-speed Internet technology (which goes by the awkwardly-spelled name Connexion by Boeing). Because it’s satellite-based, there is a noticeable lag time between my requests and the response — so it’s probably not ideal for real-time audio or video chat. Still, I’m dying to see how a video iChat session would work. But it’s a full flight, and I’m a little self-conscious about setting up my iSight while sitting sandwiched among all these people in coach class.
By the way, the flight tracking data is supplied through fboweb.com, which offers all sorts of cool ways of tracking flights in real time.