Airport City

a thing made by aaron straup cope

On a Train

Airport City is a slippy map of airport runways and highway on/off ramps rendered using OpenStreetMap data (OSM). You can pan the map to move around, zoom in and out by double-clicking (or shift-double-clicking) the map or by using the scroll-wheel on your mouse.

There is experimental support for touch screen devices (which really just means the ipad, right now).

Screen shot 2011-03-12 at 6.27.46 PM

Only zoom levels 3 - 13 (zoom level 1 being like looking at the Earth from a shapeship, and 10 like looking at a city from a small twin-engine airplane) have been rendered. Beyond that it starts to get a little boring and it's takes a really long time to render tiles at anything higher zoom levels 10, even when you cut out all the water-y bits.

Airport City only displays OSM data tagged aeroway or whose highway tag is classified as a motorway or trunk or secondary link.

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The source data is a late-January, 2011 copy of the Planet OSM snapshots which contains a few oddball entries where railways were tagged aeroways (which would account for this sort weirdness going on in Norway and one or two other places) that have since been corrected.

I became fascinated with the on and off ramps, in OSM, during and still following the creation of prettymaps in 2010. To see them in isolation is to see the gravitation push and pull (the wind patterns and dance moves) of the cities they make possible.

Screen shot 2011-02-18 at 6.08.17 PM

Airports seem like a natural pairing for on/off ramps since they occupy a similar function to on/off ramps despite their mechanical differences. Particularly the runways which are either overlooked entirely or forgotten in the rush of leaping in to the sky or the anticipation of returning to solid ground.

I like to look at them, rendered in isolation, and imagine them lumbering across the landscape like tankers or cargo ships at sea. Or as new pieces in a very large and very slow-moving chess game that is still looking for its arc.

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All of the tiles (including the three-letter airport codes which are their own separate tile layer) were rendered in black and white and grey, with a transparent background. The background colours you see are set dynamically, using CSS and JavaScript, based on the zoom level ranging from white to a nice, meaty blue. Here's an example of what the tiles look like without any background styling:

SFBA (20110221)

And here's what they look like at zoom level 4-ish:

Screen shot 2011-03-12 at 10.34.17 PM

Airport City can also FLY thanks to the walking-talking awesomeness that is Tom Carden.

great, now show me the map!