24 Hours of Air Traffic Never Looked So Beautiful

On yesterday's show, author Mike Idov gave us the skinny on U.S. flight delays. Now take a peek at what all that air traffic looks like.

Designer Aaron Koblin composited a day's worth of FAA data to make some pretty fascinating (and deeply beautiful) animations.

Check out the rest of them here.



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What is the music in the background?

Sent by Craig | 3:40 PM | 11-7-2007

fantastic...I'd love to have this as a live link on my PC desktop as I work, with the ability to zoom in or out...maybe zoom in enough to peek into the windows..ha ha.

Sent by Akio Morita | 3:55 PM | 11-7-2007

deeply beautiful?

Sent by Really? | 3:59 PM | 11-7-2007

i think the music is by yasuhiro tsuchiya / unplug ( www.yasuhirotsuchiya.com )

Sent by Richard | 6:14 PM | 11-7-2007

Im an air traffic controller. I work that traffic 5 days a week. I always have a headache.

Sent by joe Montourri | 7:12 PM | 11-7-2007

I'd love to see one with European aviation, anyone have a link??

Sent by pollux|rees | 9:44 PM | 11-7-2007

There is no live link for the desktop, but the designer's website has a wallpaper for daily traffic

Sent by Amogh | 10:41 PM | 11-7-2007

the animations are nice, the reality though...

Sent by YesReally | 12:44 AM | 11-8-2007

Where can I get that soundtrack?

Sent by AlienFarmer | 4:16 AM | 11-8-2007

Carbon footprint...ANYONE???!!!!!

Sent by Nancy | 9:24 AM | 11-8-2007

It looks like a nerve cell

Sent by Matthew Ashton | 10:23 AM | 11-8-2007

All these commints are dubm!

Sent by Lex DeNovo | 2:04 PM | 11-8-2007

I'm a pilot and I fly every day, but seeing this beautiful network... made me think of art and of ATC who actually create this amazing piece of art :)
To all the air traffic controller... Excellent work ;)

Sent by Pilot777b | 5:14 AM | 11-12-2007

OK, there appears to be a destination almost due west of San Francisco, but NE of Hawaii. What is it? It looks like it's on one of the great circle routes to South America.

Sent by jk | 10:13 AM | 11-12-2007

A nerve cell, Matthew? Dendrites maybe, but I'm just not seeing a clearly defined soma or axon here.

Sent by Will G | 12:07 PM | 11-12-2007

yes, carbon footprint! carbon is BAD, after all (*cough*, you know what organic is, right?). let's all take a 3 day journey by train between LA-NY! that's WAY better for the environment.

Sent by josef | 10:14 PM | 11-13-2007

A more complete picture of air traffic is available in the Atlas of Air Traffic over North America:


The atlas contains 70 animations of air traffic, divided by city, airline, airplane, and region. A sample animation of 24 hour air traffic for Atlanta is available on youtube at:


A higher-res version that requires the DivX plug-in is here:


The 70 animations in the atlas take up 1.6GB. The atlas is provided on a DVD-ROM, and includes a 40+ page booklet on air traffic.

Sent by Mike | 1:29 PM | 11-15-2007

to josef: aviation accounts for only 3% of all world carbon emissions. get over that bulls**t! :)

Sent by tom | 3:41 AM | 11-28-2007