McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Royal Couple Visits Australia Mountains Raw: Pro-Russian Militants Killed on Base Captain of Sunken South Korean Ferry Apologizes Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing Raw: Blast at Tennessee Ammunition Plant Kills 1 Hoax Bomb Raises Anxiety in Boston Egypt Clamps Down on Mosques to Control Message After Fukushima, Japan Eyes Solar Power New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Ex-California City Leader Gets 12 Year Sentence Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?
NDN Video
Grizzly Bears Get Snowy Birthday Party Florida State Ends Top Of the 5th With Bizarre Play vs Jacksonville | ACC Must See Moment Kate Upton Loves Her Body, Every Part Of It Weatherman draws forecast when another technical glitch strikes WGN Elizabeth Olsen's Sexy Shoot Bay Area Teen Gets Prom Date With Help From 'Breaking Bad' Star Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 1 WATCH: Women Fight To Marry Prince Harry! Jenny McCarthy Engaged to "New Kid" Kate and Will Land in Oz O’Reilly Launches Preemptive Strike Against CBS Pixar Unveils Easter Eggs From its Biggest Movies Baby Sloths Squeak for Their Cuddle Partners in Adorable Video Miley Cyrus Hospitalized After Severe Reaction To Medicine Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Toddler climbs into vending machine 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Much-Anticipated 'Gone Girl' Trailer Finally Debuts! (VIDEO) Dog and Toddler Wear Matching Outfits in Adorable Photo Series
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.