Early on, while developing SatNOGS, the SatNOGS team encountered the lack of a central and editable database for active satellite transmitters. Such information would be vital not only for SatNOGS operations but also for amateur radio operators interested in satellite telecommunications.
Over the past many years, lots of radio amateurs undertook the challenge by creating personal pages that would keep track of transmitter data, and although there are really fine examples of such efforts (props to PE0SAT, JE9PEL, OZ9AEC, AMSAT-UK and others) those are unfortunately not scalable approaches, that could easily become deprecated and are not easily exported for further usage.
Our solution was to create SatNOGS DB an open satellite transmitter database, that allows everyone to suggest transmitter information of active satellites and collaborate in keeping the database up-to date. SatNOGS DB information is freely and openly (CC-BY-SA) accessible via an API and a web application, to facilitate the needs of satellite radio operators across the globe.
Technically our current implementation is based on the Django Python framework. The code can be found here and we are looking for code contributors as always! Do you have any suggestions on how we can make SatNOGS DB better? File away issues here, so we can make DB better for everyone.
If you are a satellite operator, or an amateur radio enthusiast and would like to make suggestions on populating SatNOGS DB don’t hesitate to check out our FAQ on how to do so.
The more transmitter information we have, the easier it is to communicate with many more satellites. So get those contributions started, and together let’s create the holistic, open and crowd-sourced satellite transmitter database once and for all!
During our quest for reliable Satellite transponder data we came into a sad realization. There is nowhere out there such a thing as a complete transponder database for operational satellites.
Having this information is crucial for SatNOGS operations on multiple levels. Observation scheduling, observation job details and mainly ground station operations.
It was obvious that we needed to build a DB of all transponders of operational satellites, and in a true community and open data fashion it needed to be open, crowd-sourced and not necessarily SatNOGS specific
What we ended up with as a solution is SatNOGS DB . A separate crowd-sourced suggestions app build around transponder data for satellites. The source of truth about transponder data still lives under SatNOGS network (our main observation and scheduling website)(see previous posts) and SatNOGS DB would expose all these data and enable users around the world to provide suggestions about transponders for satellites.
Technically, the stack we are using is really interesting, thanks to our hipster-friendly software expert Nemo. In an effort to make this app as abstract, white-labeled and not SatNOGS specific as possible, no relational specific-schema database is used on the backend. We are using CouchDB  as our backend (with the appropriate hooks to SatNOGS Network) and a combination of PouchDB  and AngularJS  as our client-side front-end. This provides the ultimate flexible and responsive platform for best UX and re-usability. All suggestions are stored in blobs and once they land (moderated and approved) back to SatNOGS Network they become part of our SatNOGS Network database.
We will be pushing the site live this week (after re-factoring the code) and kickstarting the data with sources we could find around the net. (A post will follow)
Furthermore, by solving our data issue, we are providing the world (and especially ham and amateur satellite communities) with an open, accessible, crowd-sourced database for Satellite Transponder data. (yeah open data!)