Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Real-Time Planes on a 3D Globe

Live Flights is an experimental project from HERE which shows real-time flights to and from a number of international airports around the world on an interactive 3D globe. On this interactive globe you can see small red and blue airplanes traversing the world in real-time - showing the real locations of real planes.

The red planes shown on the globe are traveling towards the selected airport and the blue planes are traveling away from the airport. On a HERE Tweet that linked to the map I read a lot of negative comments suggesting that this was a poor imitation of FlightRadar24. I think this criticism is a little unfair and Live Flights is actually an interesting experiment in visualizing live flights in a different way.

Showing flights in real-time on top of an interactive globe rather than on top of a more traditional flat map brings in another dimension. Moving from 2D to 3D allows us to see the altitude of planes on the globe. If you zoom in on a cluster of planes on the globe you should be able to see that the planes are actually shown at different altitudes (the differences in altitude of planes can become more clear if you rotate the map back & forth a little).

If you hover over individual plane markers on the globe you can view details on the plane, its operating airline, where the plane is flying to and where it is flying from.

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