Stranger maps: Flights of fancy

How could you use these maps in your classroom?

Aaron Kobin maps documentation

Image and film from Aaron Koblin Design|Media Arts, UCLA; “Flightpatterns”

Remember the old World Book maps of states that featured oil drilling derricks and cows in Texas, and shocks of wheat in Kansas? This is just that kind of map, updated for commerce connected with air travel, showing commerce density and direction hour by hour.

I’m thinking, one quiz would be to name the sites of most action. Another would be to calculate how many people are in the air at any given time (notice the count of the number of airplanes; you’ll have to assume about 100 people per aircraft, or more if you can find figures; notice there are no fewer than 4,000 aircraft in the air at any time over the U.S. — ponder that figure for a while, considering an average cost of more than $10 million per aircraft, the miles covered, and compare it to the maps showing the voyages of European explorers to America . . .)

What other maps can your kids make? Water flows of rivers? Train commerce? Highway commerce? Food transportation?

Geography should be an awfully fun topic to teach, and even more fun topic to learn, no?

Check out Koblin’s other work — see the crystals dissolve, science teachers?

Tip of the old scrub brush to Stranger Fruit, via Pharyngula.

3 Responses to Stranger maps: Flights of fancy

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    Click on the map, or on the caption, and it should take you to the website of the guy who designed it. He took some obscure FAA file for flight data in a day, and used that to generate this and several similarly beautiful maps.

    Holler if that doesn’t work.


  2. Daniel says:

    What was your source for generating this map?


  3. […] Toldja Remember the earlier post on this? […]


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