The Accidental Beauty of Flight Paths

The Accidental Beauty of Flight Paths

There is more between heaven and earth than bird migrations and weather fronts. These maps capture the poetic beauty of something utterly mundane and usually invisible: the flight patterns of the planes that bring us from airport A to airport B.

We live in the age of mass air travel. At any given moment, there are about 10,000 commercial planes airborne, carrying an estimated half a million passengers across the skies. We also live in the era of Big Data. Which means that the movements of those thousands of planes can be followed in real time on websites such as Plane Finder and Flightradar24.

Alexey Papulovsky and Nikolay Guryanov, two Moscow-based software engineers, took their fascination with live flight data in the other direction, from the specific to the general. They collected over a billion data points from a single month’s worth of flight information on Plane Finder (i.c. October 2012), and plotted them out on a searchable, scalable world map. The result is called Contrailz, after the condensation trails momentarily tracing the flight paths of planes.    read  the full story here