Conference: 
VGTC VPG Data-Visualization Contest 2014
Authors: 
Andy Wilson
Abstract: 
Air traffic is relatively invisible despite its role in our personal and professional lives. We rely on it for professional contact and visiting distant family. We hear about it on the news whenever things go wrong. We are aware of its complexity on an intellectual level but we rarely see it. ONE DAY ALOFT illustrates one facet of this complexity. We render US air traffic for one ordinary day in April 2013 and color each trajectory by climb rate. Orange trajectories indicate climbing aircraft, blue indicates descent, and white trajectories are level flight. The large map shows overall traffic patterns including regions of denser or sparser coverage and a few very rare areas with no air traffic at all. The inset maps around the periphery show the approach and departure patterns (blue and orange respectively) around the busiest US airports. In isolation, the statement “Bad weather in New York has led to nationwide flight delays” lacks credibility. When viewed in the context of the intricate pattern surrounding three major airports it becomes all too plausible. NOW BOARDING. atwilso@sandia.gov PO Box 5800, MS 1323 Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185-1323 USA