Monday, April 19, 2010

Britain from above

This is quite a fascinating website if you are currently marvelling at (or infuriated by) the relinquishing of our skies to birds, air currents, volcanic ash. A short film visualises flight paths across Britain, the central 'motorways' these routes conform to, the fabric their lines weave, and the gaps above sensitive military sites etc. There's some similar animations showing taxi routes in London, the tentacles of telephone networks, pipelines of electronic data delivery, and Britain's population by light intensity.

It's all very interesting for any mapping fanatics, making invisible routes visible, and brought to my mind both Richard Long's fascination with the marks we leave, and Anthony Doerr's piece in Granta 102 (The New Nature Writing), in which he writes of animal migration:

‘Salmon, wildebeest, locusts. Stalks, swifts, snow geese. What if the torrents of animals migrating past us every year left behind traces of their routes? What if arctic terns sketched lines should the sky as they poured out of Antarctica and back; what if steelhead trout left thin, colourful filaments behind as they muscled up rivers? The skies above our fields would become a loom; the continents would be bundled in thread.’

Wouldn't it be fascinating to do this for walking journeys in various parts of the world?

1 comment:

cocoa flower said...

what an amazing website - especially in the light of current ash situation. The film of the shipping in the channel looks like people trying to cross busy motorway traffic - it is quite terrifying!