McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Breaking News

Features

June 1, 2013

World's flight paths artfully mapped

The United States and China may be the world's biggest economic engines, but on this gorgeous map of the world's flight paths, Europe glows brighter than either one.

The map, designed by a young Canadian GIS consultant named Michael Markieta, traces some 60,000 routes on major and regional airlines around the globe. The flight paths aren't precise, but the departure and destination cities are. Marketa's map shows shows relatively faint blue lines for each individual route and bright white nodes where multiple routes intersect or overlap.

One of the things that leaps out at first glance is the plethora of connections in the Eastern United States, East Asia and most of all Europe, which makes sense given those regions' wealth and population density.

Europe has the greatest concentration of short-hop flights. Germany's Frankfurt International Airport is the busiest destination on the map, with 235 direct flights.

By contrast, almost the entire Southern Hemisphere is dim, save for a few bright spots in cities such as Sao Paolo and Syndey. The relative brightness of vacation spots like the Canary Islands compared to nearby African countries like Morocco highlights the persistent economic disparities in air travel patterns.

Africa remains poorly served by airlines, with Spain's Canary Islands appearing brighter than major African cities on the map. Nonetheless you can roughly trace the continent's outlines by the flights between coastal population centers.

The busiest U.S. airport is Atlanta, but the Washington-New York-Boston corridor appears to be the most heavily traveled overall. A 2009 Brookings study found that the busiest city pairs were New York-Miami and Los Angeles-San Francisco.

Atlanta is home to the busiest U.S. airport, though the densest concentration of flights is along the Atlantic seaboard.

Perhaps the most fascinating thing about the map is that there's no "base layer" tracing the outlines of countries or continents. Instead, the flight routes themselves sketch the edges of the world's major land masses, because so many people live in and travel between coastal cities.

Markieta, who works for the global engineering and design firm Arup, has answered questions about the map on Twitter and Reddit, and he explains his methodology in depth in this blog post: http://bit.ly/n2e1Bc

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
  • Easter Surprise Easter Surprise

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • JECC Eggs 1 JECC Egg Hunt

    April 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • Lights On for Louie Lights On For Louie

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Baby Fair Baby Fair

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-10-ducks.jpg PAWS: Happy Easter

    As I was growing up, it seemed that Easter was always a time for giving a cute little furry animal as a gift. We seem to associate this holiday with bunnies and chicks, and of course, kitties and puppies.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fairly Snotty McAlester livestock report

    On Tuesday, 1,200 head of cattle were sold at the McAlester Union Stockyards. Steers sold $2 to $9 higher than at the last sale and heifers sold $4 to $8 higher.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Low blood-sugar levels make for grousing spouses

    Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.

    April 18, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • David Cantrell OSU Extension: Cattle tips for spring

    As we continue to move into spring here in Pittsburg County and cattle prices are at an all-time high, here are a few basic management tips to ensure herd health and productivity of the herd.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • RICHARDSON 50 1.jpg Richardsons celebrate 50 years of marriage

    Haileyville High School graduates Jim and Connie Richardson, of rural Claremore, will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary Saturday.

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos