Beauty and The Beast – When Flying Becomes Really Interesting

Flight Trails

The joy of flying and visualisation combine in Contrailz, an interesting project from Russian software engineer Alexey Papulovskiy and his collaborator Nikolay Guryanov.

There are those of us who find beauty in these transport patterns and no doubt others who see them as evidence of the beastly spread of CO2 emissions.

For lovers of abstract art these visualisations have a certain ring of familiarity as the Singapore/Malaysia map (above) and Stockholm (below) demonstrates.

Flight Trails

Alexy began by  collecting tracking data for civil plane routes from The data set of 1 billion “dots” was for the month of October,2012.

Flight Levels are colour coded, with the red signifying lower altitudes and blue, higher altitudes. The project mapping demonstrates that commercial aircraft have specific routes that they follow and these routes regularly intersect.

All of which goes to show why you can see so many aircraft at different holding altitudes as you are preparing to land at a busy airport such as Changi or Heathrow (below).

And while you suddenly realise how much you are in the hands of your pilot and rush to check your travel insurance, take a good look at  the data source, PlaneFinder.  It picks up “ADS-B plane feeds used by commercial and private planes to transmit their name, position, callsign, status and lots more.”

The crowded skies of the USA – PlaneFinder

Happy Travels!

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About thedigitalconsultant

Roger Smith is a retired international, digital consultant and former British Council Director of Online Operations within the East Asia region.
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