Have you ever wondered how the civil planes’ routes look like?
I, for instance, find this matter quite interesting, so I decided to find out how this stuff actually works.

In order to get a picture, I’ve been collecting plane tracking data from Planefinder.net during the whole month of October in 2012. The results of such monitoring amounted for about 1 billion “dots” which I tried to put on a map. Since such data tends to be somewhat discrete and it won’t allow to you to build personal routes for each plane, I decided to leave these dots as they are.

Turns out, besides Flight Levels (FL) (which are indicated on my map by dots’ color: red ones stand for lower altitudes and blue — for higher) planes have pretty specific “roads” and “highways” as well as “intersections” and “junctions”. You can see this for yourself by taking a look at the Russian part of the map: it’s less “crowded”, so the picture is as clear as it gets. The sky above Moscow area looks particularly interesting: civil flights are allowed there only since March 2013 and only with an altitude of 27.000 ft or higher.

And if you actually are from Russia, then you might have already noticed some vast “blind spots” in many regions. This is due to Planefinder.net not having too many data providers in our country.

What I find especially fascinating about this map, though, are the airfield traffic patterns in bigger world airports. Just look at those tricky curves the pilots have to make in order to land in London! Sadly, there’s no data on Paro airport in Bhutan, for example: the place is known to be a true nightmare among pilots.

I hope you’ll find the info on this site worth your time and stumble upon something of particular interest to you. A good idea to start with would be taking a look at such places as Helsinki, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and other.

However, I still have to admit a couple of flaws in my model. A lot of data in the US part of the map is “rounded”, so it looks like a “grid”.

The other thing I’m not very happy about is the Mercator projection effect around the Atlantic ocean area. Bending the scale like a boss, indeed.

Alexey Papulovskiy
Some positive credits to sources and instruments that made this small project on mine possible:
Planefinder.net — one of the best new sources of data
PostgreSQL — processing the data, you know
Leaflet — a great open-source JavaScript cartographic library by Vladimir Agafonkin
TileMill (and other MapBox tools) — I designed the background with it
Other: jQuery, jQuery UI, History.js, leaflet-ajax, Scrollyeah.
Hosting: ServerClub.
Some articles about us:
‘Contrailz’ visualises flight paths around the world by Andy Kirk, Visualising Data
Contrailz: Detailed flight patterns at major airports by Nathan Yau, FlowingData
The World's Flight Patterns Beautifully Visualized by Peter Ha, Gizmodo
These Beautiful Maps Of Flights Around The World Look Like Abstract Art by Colin Lecher, Popular Science
Más ejemplos de Visualización de Datos: Contrailz by Carlos Barranco, Outsourceando
Beautiful Visualizations Of Flight Patterns Around The World by Erwan Xiao, DesignTAXI
Picasso semmi a légi forgalomhoz képest, Index
Contrailz, una herramienta para visualizar los patrones de vuelo alrededor del mundo by Wicho, Microsiervos
Самолетное by Vadim Kalinsky, Promzona
International Plane Routes Visualized As Colorful Graphics by Yi Chen, PSFK
Aanvliegroutes vliegvelden gevisualiseerd by Jöran Maaswinkel, DailyM