Airports of the World

I've been busy in astronomy-land recently, trying to make some headway on my thesis before beginning a summer internship (more on both hopefully in the coming months!) For this site, recently I've been playing with some interesting data, trying to find the "story" - which is really a way of saying I haven't found the truly clever question yet. Lots of pretty/interesting visualizations have been made, however.

In the meantime, I thought the following map was pretty incredible. I present:
The World, Traced by Airport Runways.

This was generated using 45,132 runways (awesome data from here). Think about that number for a moment: there are at least 45,000 places to land an airplane! These range from small dirt fields to LAX, and the data seems to be more complete in the USA. Still, runways on every continent, seemingly every country.


Update: You can now purchase a poster version of this map. Neat!
Airports of the World Poster
Airports of the World Poster by IfWeAssume
View custom art Posters & Prints at online Zazzle


  1. What's up with the activity in Namibia? I have an idea, as I think it has to do with diamond mining, and flights to the mining areas ... what do you all have?

  2. What's up with that little activity zone in Namibia? I feel it's from diamond miner commuters, but not sure ...

  3. I'm surprised at the lack of runways in Mexico; a lack-of-completeness effect or a serious lack of runways compared to, well, most countries?

    1. I'm honestly not sure. Because of the crowd data source it's essentially impossible for me to determine completeness. I would assume all major international airports are represented completely throughout most of the world. The US has data for helipads, dirt airstrips, and closed facilities. I doubt if this level of detail is present for most countries.

  4. I would suggest manually adding the few in Antarctica to make your "every continent" statement true.

    1. If you look at the high-res version you can see there actually are a handful down in Antarctica!

      ... which blows my mind!


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