a thing made by aaron straup cope
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).
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.
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.
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.
And here's what they look like at zoom level 4-ish: