Flight Patterns
August 26, 2006 9:08 AM   Subscribe

Flight Patterns (watch the overview video) is a cool visualization based on FAA flight records for one day. You can see the overnight lull, then the morning sweep across the country in a series of short videos. It's like cabspotting, but on a much larger scale. This is from the same guy behind The Sheep Market.
posted by mathowie (23 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
The flight patterns video reminds me of this FAA radar track sequence video of FedEx aircraft trying to get into the Memphis hub as a thunderstorm passes through the area.

I love this extreme data visualization stuff.
posted by junesix at 9:20 AM on August 26, 2006

Cool. Here's the small version of the video for those of us with slow connections.
posted by matthewr at 9:21 AM on August 26, 2006

God, we live in an amazing technological world. I'm so going to miss this shit when the oil runs out.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:37 AM on August 26, 2006

Sweet! It kinda reminds me of this for some reason.
posted by owhydididoit at 9:44 AM on August 26, 2006

Very nice.
posted by caddis at 9:54 AM on August 26, 2006

I was surprised by the visual density that seem to flow in and out of the Caribbean!

I adore the look of the incoming and outgoing Trans-Atlantic flights. They look like a shower - or like the continents are firing broadsides at each other.
posted by generichuman at 9:55 AM on August 26, 2006

It looks like there's one main Caribbean hub, but I can't quite make out where it is.

Sort of South-East of Cuba.
posted by generichuman at 9:57 AM on August 26, 2006

Could be San Juan, Puerto Rico.
posted by schmedeman at 10:14 AM on August 26, 2006

This is cool. There was another FedEx one recently, too, showing all the planes going in and out of their hubs, that was equally nifty.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:56 AM on August 26, 2006

There are a few mystery islands with signifigant numbers of planes going in and out of them in the Pacific that I don't recognize, and can't find on Google Earth. I've circled them here. Can anyone help naming/locating them?
posted by zsazsa at 11:22 AM on August 26, 2006

This is very interesting -- it reminds me of the dynamics of actin filaments within a cell as it's trying to move.
posted by scblackman at 11:33 AM on August 26, 2006

Kinda makes me wish someone would make a Missle Command 2006 - you know cause those are neat looking graphics.
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 12:08 PM on August 26, 2006

There are a few mystery islands ... can anyone help naming/locating them?

I noticed that too. I don't think we were supposed to notice those.

Missles? Aircraft carriers?
posted by wigu at 12:47 PM on August 26, 2006

So I'm sitting here thinking "Isn't this a double?"—and while I'm thinking that, and thinking about searching to check, suddenly I get déjà vu. So I think I'll have a nap instead of risking the raging vortex of recursive memory.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:59 PM on August 26, 2006

It only covers one airline partnership, but Star Alliance (United, Lufthansa, SwissAir, and others) released a screensaver a few years ago that shows all their flights, and can be viewed either in real-time or time lapse mode. You can see a lot of the same phenomena with it, although it doesn't look quite as pretty. Only for those cursed with Windows, though.
posted by bjrubble at 1:15 PM on August 26, 2006

NASA did a similar animation in 2003. With fewer production values. It uses UTC time, which is 4 hours behind EST.

See the burst of flights at 10:00 which is 6am EST. This looks like Fedex and UPS taking off just before the big wave of passenger flights from the east coast.

Flights from Europe get busy around 16:00 (noon EST)
posted by jjj606 at 1:20 PM on August 26, 2006

Ethereal Bligh, you are probably thinking of a comment in the FedEx post.

The link in that comment only shows red dots, which seems a lot more logical to me. What does a plum of smoke mean? How about a trail of dots? This one is a lot more artistic though..

There is a huge discrepancy in the number of flights being tracked; weird..
posted by Chuckles at 5:20 PM on August 26, 2006

posted by Chuckles at 5:21 PM on August 26, 2006

This is freakin rad. thanks.
posted by fungible at 7:12 PM on August 26, 2006

The blobular view is interesting. Looking at the still pic I thought it would be dumb, but watching the arm detach as it goes off toward Europe and then reattach the next day.. Pretty cool!

This picture of low earth orbit satellites from the Celestial Mechanics page looks cool, but damn I wish they would tell us what the stuff means..
posted by Chuckles at 7:25 PM on August 26, 2006

"Kinda makes me wish someone would make a Missle Command 2006 - you know cause those are neat looking graphics."

It's coming soon.
posted by majick at 10:55 PM on August 26, 2006

That was pretty cool, especially as I just took a trip to California to visit family. Would have been cool had they showed something like that live on the video, as opposed to NBC InFlight...
posted by Samizdata at 10:49 AM on August 27, 2006

I use flightaware.com a lot. they offer similar visual gadgets but also allow you to track a specific flight by it's number or other identifiers.

if you search their site, it will tell you what actual times specific flights have departed and arrived in the past 30 days. pretty neat way to avoid the one that's constantly delayed by six hours.
posted by krautland at 1:53 PM on August 28, 2006

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