GE, 2012

Music by Eric Gunther

Our goal was to capture the immense amount of ground—or water, in many cases— covered by GE aviation technology in a typical day.  We gathered data on every flight arriving at JFK International Airport within a 24-hour period. Of the one thousand recorded arrivals, over 700 of the planes were powered by GE technology.

The main display of the installation shows a globe, and traces every single flight path for the entire 24-hour period. Above the map, you can follow the views seen from each flight as it traverses its respective route. Users can rotate this scene with their hand, and spin the globe to view the paths from different angles.

By adjusting the viewpoint, you can see the volume of global flight traffic that converges at JFK at different times. If you don’t plan on jet setting anytime soon, we suggest you take a peek!

In the original sketch concept video below, we wanted to show the view from every GE-powered flight to JFK that was in the air at a single point in time. The result is a composite image of each cockpit view of the planes in transit, where the 24-hour period is consolidated to just over seven minutes.

In order to produce cockpit images, we calculated trajectories based on each plane’s location and direction relative to the surface of the Earth. This data was used to control NASA World Wind to generate hundreds of thousands of images that could be assembled into the final project.