VATSIM Traffic and ATC Display
Current Version: 1.4.2 - Released: 10/24/2023

Description | Features | Screenshots | Download | Documentation | To Do List | Revision History | Support Forum

VAT-Spy is a simple application that allows you to view current ATC staffing and traffic levels on VATSIM. It is modeled after ServInfo, a very popular traffic and ATC viewer for multiple online flying networks. ServInfo is a fantastic program that left little room for improvement, but there were one or two areas that I wanted to do differently in VAT-Spy, mainly the map and the CPU usage during data downloads.

VAT-Spy's map looks very similar to ServInfo's map, but it has a different interface for panning and zooming. You can smoothly pan and zoom the map using the mouse. See the documentation section for details.

As for CPU usage, VAT-Spy differs from ServInfo in that it is a multi-threaded application, which means that it does a lot of its work in the background while the user interface remains responsive. This means that, for example, you can still pan and zoom the map while VAT-Spy is downloading the latest VATSIM data. This also means that VAT-Spy can take advantage of multi-core processors. One processor core can handle downloading and parsing the data, while the other core can handle drawing the map, etc.

  • World map with smooth panning and zooming.
  • Most fonts and colors on the map are customizable.
  • Multi-threaded for high performance and responsive user interface.
  • Customizable filters.
  • Map bookmarks allow you to save favorite views of the map.
  • Favorites allow you to quickly jump to any country, FIR/ARTCC, or airport details.
  • METAR lookup window can fetch multiple METARs at once.
Controller List
Flight List
Airport Details
Airport Details
Server List
Server List
Edit Filter
Edit Filter
Settings Window
Settings Window

Download the installer here:


Simply run the installer program and follow the on-screen instructions. An uninstaller is included.

Note: VAT-Spy requires version 4.7 of the Microsoft .NET Framework.


Initial Setup

After downloading the installer, simply double-click the file to run it, and follow the on-screen instructions. VAT-Spy will be installed in the folder you select, and its data files will be installed in the Application Data folder for your user.

After installation is complete, run VAT-Spy from the desktop shortcut (if installed) or from the Programs List in the Start menu.

The Toolbar

Most of VAT-Spy's interface is self-explanatory, but a few items warrant some description. Here's a screenshot of the left half of VAT-Spy's toolbar:


Hover your mouse over each item in the toolbar to see a hint as to its function.

The first button, labelled "Refresh", causes VAT-Spy to download the current VATSIM data file. You can use this button to force a refresh of the data if you don't want to wait for the automatic update that happens every three minutes by default, or if you have automatic updates disabled.

The second button, labelled "Stop", cancels the current download.

The next button, labelled "Toggle Auto-Refresh", enables or disables automatic downloading of the VATSIM data file. If enabled, VAT-Spy will download the data file and refresh all displayed data every few minutes, depending on the interval you have set in the VAT-Spy settings window.

The next button, labelled "General Settings", opens a new window with all of VAT-Spy's configuration options. Everything on the settings window is self-explanatory. Feel free to experiment with the settings ... you can always restore them to their defaults with the provided button.

The Jump Box

The next item on the toolbar is the "Jump Box". You can use this box to enter an airport code, an FIR/ARTCC code, or a country's two-letter airport prefix. After pressing enter, or the "Go" button, you will be taken to the appropriate page to see the relevant details. As you type text into the jump box, a list of matching items will be displayed, from which you can choose the item you wish to see.


The next item on the toolbar is the Favorites dropdown. Any favorites that you have created will be listed here. Simply select the item from the list, and the relevant data will be displayed.

The next item is the "Add Favorite" button. When this button is pressed, you will be prompted to confirm whether or not you wish to add the current data item to your favorites list.


The next item on the toolbar is the Filters dropdown. Any filters that you have created will be listed here. Simply select the item from the list, and you will be taken to the Filtered Details tab, showing all flights and controllers that match the selected filter.

The next item is the "Add Filter" button. This button takes you to the Add Filter window, where you can enter criteria for a new filter. Filters help you find only certain pilots or controllers that are online. For example, you could add a series of CIDs to the CID list in a filter, and name the filter "Friends". When you select that filter, only the pilots or controllers having CIDs matching your list will be shown.

You can also enter callsign patterns to help you find certain callsigns. This is useful for VAs to help locate all pilots flying with your VA's callsign. For example, if you fly for a Delta VA, you could enter "DAL*" as a callsign pattern in the Flight Callsign Patterns list. This is also helpful for finding all the controllers in a given area. For example, you could enter "BOS*" in the ATC Callsign Patterns list, and see all controllers covering Boston positions such as BOS_CTR, BOS_TWR, etc. Note the use of the asterisk as a "wildcard" here. Entering "BOS*" will find all callsigns starting with BOS. Entering "*TWR" will find all callsigns ending in TWR. Entering "*_S_*" will find all callsigns with _S_ in the middle. If you don't use a wildcard, only callsigns matching the pattern exactly will be included in the list of matching controllers or pilots.

The rest of the filter options should be self-explanatory, but feel free to post in the VAT-Spy support forum if you need assistance.

Map Bookmarks

The next item on the toolbar is the Map Bookmarks dropdown. Any map bookmarks that you have created will be listed here. Simply select the bookmark from the list, and you will be taken to the map tab, with the map centered on the same location you were viewing when you created the bookmark.

The next item on the toolbar is the "Add Map Bookmark" button. When you are viewing the map, you can press this button to bookmark your current location on the map. VAT-Spy will ask you to enter a name for your bookmark. The new bookmark will then be added to the bookmark dropdown. You can then return to the same view by selecting the bookmark from the list.

The remainder of the toolbar should be self-explanatory based on the tooltip text that will appear when you hover your mouse over each item. Feel free to experiment. If you have any questions, post a message in the VAT-Spy support forum.

Key Combo Bookmarks

You can also set bookmarks using key combinations. To set a bookmark in this way, press CTRL-ALT-# where # is any number from 0 to 9.

To recall a key combo bookmark, press CTRL plus the number that you used to set the bookmark.

To Do List
  • Include list of voice servers with links to active user lists via web page.
  • Weather search window to help user find challenging weather.
  • Sub-sectorization of FIR/ARTCC airspace based on callsign patterns.
Revision History

Version 1.4.2 - October 24th, 2023

  • Added toolbar button to toggle display of unstaffed FIR sector boundaries.

Version 1.4.1 - October 24th, 2023

  • Fixed handling of double underscores in relief callsigns.

Version 1.4.0 - October 22nd, 2023

  • FIR sectors are now shown correctly based on the middle portion of the callsign, if defined in the data files.

Version 1.3.4 - March 8th, 2023

  • Changed how the configuration is saved on exit, to hopefully fix the corrupt config file issue.

Version 1.3.3 - March 31st, 2021

  • Fix bug with filtered flights table.

Version 1.3.2 - March 30th, 2021

  • Rearrange buttons on ATC details form.

Version 1.3.1 - March 30th, 2021

  • Resolves #11: Add shortcut key bookmarks.
  • Alter grid column widths.

Version 1.3.0 Beta 1 - March 30th, 2021

  • Added display of pilot ratings.

Version 1.2.0 Beta 1 - February 27th, 2021

  • Resolves #5: Add option to swap mouse button functionality.
  • Resolves #4: Add aircraft type to flight tables.
  • Resolves #10: Strip ICAO equipment codes from aircraft type.
  • Resolves #6: Add distance measuring tool.
  • Resolves #9: Add color settings for map popup background and text.
  • Resolves #7: Add link to network status page on download error form.
  • Resolves #8: Key not present in dictionary error.
  • Remove cancel button from refresh error form.

Version 1.1.0 Beta 8 - November 24th, 2020

  • Data now refreshes automatically after restoring the window from minimized state
  • Refresh button is now disabled while a refresh is in progress

Version 1.1.0 Beta 7 - November 24th, 2020

  • Fixed some character set issues

Version 1.1.0 Beta 6 - November 24th, 2020

  • Fixed null reference crash on startup

Version 1.1.0 Beta 5 - November 23rd, 2020

  • Removed minimize-to-tray functionality
  • Fixed bug with not being able to set some map fonts
  • Force TLS 1.2 protocol for Windows 7
  • Fixed bug with keyboard focus on popup windows

Version 1.1.0 Beta 4 - November 19th, 2020

  • Fixed bug the prevented adding favorites
  • Fixed display of inactive airports
  • Fixed auto-refresh of VATSIM data

Version 1.1.0 Beta 3 - November 18th, 2020

  • VAT-Spy now pulls data from new VATSIM JSON data feed
  • Added automatic updating of the VAT-Spy application
  • Added automatic updating of the VAT-Spy data files from the VAT-Spy Data Project on GitHub
  • Zooming using the mouse wheel now zooms towards or away from the mouse cursor
  • Removed broken links
  • Set data refresh rate at 1 minute
  • Removed the option to change the data refresh rate

Version 1.1.0 Beta 2 - November 15th, 2020

  • Added symbol file in order to get better exception details

Version 1.1.0 Beta 1 - November 14th, 2020

  • Fixed bug with rendering arrival/departure lists with more than 40 entries

Version 1.0.3719.41261 - March 8th, 2010

  • Updated data server list URL

Version 1.0.3669.42728 - Jan 17th, 2010

  • Fixed bug where extra spaces in data file caused controllers to not appear on map

Version 1.0.3664.41817 - Jan 12th, 2010

  • Fixed crash bug when user has non standard DPI setting

Version 1.0.3344.22382 - Feb 26th, 2009

  • Minor bug fix release due to VATSIM stats server changes

Version 1.0.3264.42461 - Dec 8th, 2008

  • Minor bug fix release due to VATSIM data feed changes

Version 1.0 - May 3rd, 2008

  • Initial Release

© 2008 Ross Alan Carlson. All rights reserved.