This Gorgeous Visualization Is What 24 Hours Of Air Traffic Looks Like

Have you ever found yourself sitting on your flight, pondering your very existence in the grand scheme of things? Not necessarily on a spiritual level, but in terms of how small we really are. This stunning video by represents each plane flight as a tiny, speck, like a migration of glowing fireflies.


Now, think about how each of these specks is hauling hundreds of people and thousands of mechanical moving parts, miles of wires and hydraulic fluid lines, weighing hundreds of thousands of pounds. The cargo beneath the planes keeps world commerce ticking. Consider the stories each suitcase could tell about its owner.

This beautiful video was created using real-time flight data, from a day in July 2013. As it begins, we see the overnight red-eye flights leaving the Northeastern U.S. and Canada. Next, we see pre-dawn traffic come alive in Eastern Europe and Russia. Notice in the upper left, the five trans-Atlantic highways. The next segment shows the morning departures heading west, back across the Atlantic before zooming into the southern UK, and highlighting the traffic around London's airports. In the final moments, we fall back for a larger picture of European traffic as night falls once again.

To me, the act of aviation is purely magical. I've flown hundreds of times, but I've never been less than enthusiastic when boarding a plane, no matter where or which airline I'm flying.