Cover image

Flights Rome

After confirming that all roads lead to Rome, we set out onto a new adventure.

1Roads in
the Sky

Even pilots have to follow highways

Flights to Rome is our follow up to one of the biggest unsolved quests of mobility: Do all roads lead to Rome?! We've explored this question on a global scale and found a route from anywhere in the world!

Starting at 712.425 locations spread evenly around the globe, we calculated routes from everywhere on the planet. Intermodal routes are calculated to the airport based on the OpenStreetMap road network. From there on a flight network shows all flights to Rome. The network was created with data of Flightradar24. Flights to Rome is a project between data visualisation and art.

Road in the sky
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2Up in
the Air

How high do planes fly?
How far do they travel?

About 20 km after a plane is airborne the local control sitting in the airports tower hands over to regional ground control. Aircrafts are then sequenced and bundeled in flight corridors according to destination. Weather conditions, high traffic volume and crossing traffic can make it very complicated.

Depending on local regulation, approaches are handled differently by local control. Oman for example has a very long approach, while heavier traffic requests steeper descents.

Show flights for:
Altitudes
1187 km
Most common
World
Flights Distance

3 Flights
to Metropolis

What happens if every
citizen visits its own capital?

Next to Rome we chose two other global cities to calculate routes to, which promised to shed lights on different parts of the world. Tokyo and New York are metropolises that have a highly frequented air spaces. The three different levels of detail allow for interesting perspectives to appear at the three locations.

4 Flights
to Rome 3D map

From far out to up close

Browse the Flights to Rome web map and find out about your own route to Rome. The 3D map let's you explore all the details world wide. You'll see all roads leading to the nearest airport. From there on find the red flight routes leading to Rome.

Open Interactive Map

5 Flights
to Rome

You are now entering Europe.

The proverb “All roads lead to Rome” is rooted in the Golden Milestone, which used to mark the center of the Roman Empire. Transferring this to the global flight network results in the picture seen below.

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“Entering Europe” looking at incoming traffic to Rome on a global scale, certain entry nodes can be identified.

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Eastern traffic tends to enter via Moscow. Connections to the west are more diverse and not as bundled. Note also how all east coast traffic is routed via Iceland, while west coast origins fly in via Paris and London

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Far eastern and Indian traffic flows enter via Istanbul while some southbound traffic is bundled in Tunis.

6 Flights
to New York

“Let's spend the weekend in NYC.” – Said everybody!

New York City was the destination of almost 13 million visitors in 2017. It is one of the most popular destinations in the US.

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If all the 13 million visitors were spread evenly around the globe, their travel patterns would look a little like this.

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The travel patterns of the US Mainland only.

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“Leaving Alaska” - In remote (yet domestic) areas like Alaska, we still find that a lot of small airports connect to one main hub, Anchorage in this case. Due to the harsh and vast environment the land route can be very difficult. Travellers from Anchorage would have to transfer to another connecting flight in order to get to New York City. For Alaskans air traffic is an essential way of travelling.

7 Flights
to Tokyo

The Land of the Rising Sun. Left or Right?

To reach east you must go west. At least for most travellers from North and South America this is the case. Interestingly only travellers from west Brazil actually fly east to visit Tokyo in the Far East.

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Air Traffic in Areas of Conflict – In a close up on Japan it is easy to see how cautiously air traffic is regulated, note the flows in areas of political conflict.

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Aircrafts approach in very specific streams. While North Korea lifted its ban on foreign airplanes over their territory in 1997, there are several bans from international aviation organisations on the area.

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The main reason for the ban is the erratic and sometimes unannounced missile testing in the region.

8 An Airborne
Pilgrimage

Airline
Flights
China Eastern Airlines
11341
Lufthansa
10241
Air Canada
9874
Ryanair
9721
Air France
9102
American Airlines
8824
China Southern Airlines
8231
US Airways
8001
Southwest Airlines
7506
United Airlines
7306
Delta Air Lines
7210
3.573.863 Flights* in 4.261 Routes across 6 continents.
The 5.930.563.789 km travelled would sum up to 71.166.765.468 liter of burnt Kerosene and $ 58.961.304 from Flight Miles.

* Source data Jan 9 to 15, 2017. Data courtesy of FlightRadar24

9 Remote Airports
in Beautiful Places

Matagorda Island Air Force Base (USA)
Matagorda Island Air Force Base (USA)
9321 km away from Rome
Osborne Mine Airport (Australia)
Osborne Mine Airport (Australia)
14739 km away from Rome
Rae Lakes Airport (Canada)
Rae Lakes Airport (Canada)
7435 km away from Rome
Balalae Airport (Solomon Islands)
Balalae Airport (Solomon Islands)
14722 km away from Rome

Also people on magical small islands sometimes want to leave.

When calculating the roadway from every place on earth to the nearest airport we eventually ended up with the most remote airports. Book a flight here, if you've had enough of Rome, New York or Tokyo.

La Chorerra Airport (Colombia)
La Chorerra Airport (Colombia)
9727 km away from Rome
Catalina Airport (USA)
Catalina Airport (USA)
10257 km away from Rome
Tasiujaq Airport (Canada)
Tasiujaq Airport (Canada)
5754 km away from Rome
Durrie Airport (Australia)
Durrie Airport (Australia)
14941 km away from Rome
Farewell Airport (Alaska)
Farewell Airport (Alaska)
8341 km away from Rome
Big Bay Water Aerodrome (Canada)
Big Bay Water Aerodrome (Canada)
8958 km away from Rome

10Making-Of

If you would like to know more about what we had to do to create these images please check out our blog post. We tried to document every step from data requirements, protoypes, data wrangling up to finding a visual style. Read more on our blog.

11About

The questions, if all roads actually do lead to Rome bothered Benedikt Groß for quite a while

With the support of Stephan Bogner the two set out on a digital navigation quest.

The results of this quest are the maps documented by Raphael Reimann on the pages you are currently viewing. Benedikt and Raphael are members of moovel lab.

With

Expert for Digital Geography
Raphael Reimann

&

Front-end Engineer
Thibault Durand
Concept Benedikt & Stephan
Design Stephan
Code & Data Wrangling Stephan & Benedikt
Texts Raphael
GraphHopper Dev Robin Boldt

Tools & Software

Many thanks to the following (open source) tools, which made the realisation of the project possible!

GraphHopper
Routing Engine
Mapbox GL JS
Interactive Map
Turf.js
Geospatial Analysis
deck.gl
3D Flight Trails
Tilehut.js
Tile Server
tippecanoe
Vector Tileset Generator
Overpass Turbo
Query OpenStreetMap
Geofabrik
OpenStreetMap Files
Node.js
Backend & Custom Tools
Mongodb
Database
Cinema 4D
3d Rendering
Python
Data Processing

Special Thanks

This project was only possible thanks to following friends. 🙏!

 

Presskit

Please credit the moovel lab team in your publications