/* */

26 November 2007

Traffic analysis

Hauntingly beautiful in its own right – the following is an excellent example of the power of visualization to make sense of complex patterns within extremely large datasets; in this case, aviation flight records.

There are equally haunting displays of the exchange of information, of light, and of motion, in other areas which are so close the art and science itself. In the words of the master (still accurate, even three decades on):

“Program a map to display frequency of data exchange, every thousand megabytes a single pixel on a very large screen. Manhattan and Atlanta burn solid white. Then they start to pulse, the rate of traffic threatening to overload your simulation. Your map is about to go nova. Cool it down. Up your scale. Each pixel a million megabytes. At a hundred million megabytes per second, you begin to make out certain blocks in midtown Manhattan, outlines of hundred-year-old industrial parks ringing the old core of Atlanta. . .”

Sometimes we forget the unintentional glimpses into the very nature of the human activity that our unique profession affords us. In deep time, these may be the closest thing to the historical record of a whole range of otherwise unremarked aspects of our day.


It appears Zenpundit's thoughts have also drifted towards the visual, with the discussion Cognition of a Society of Visual Imagery, building upon a post at Glittering Eye. Perhaps his blog redesign (utilizing, as we understand it, the excellent talents of his wife's firm) has contributed to his greater appreciation of the aesthetic. Certainly, we his readers have benefited.

Labels: ,