James Davenport, a Ph.D. candidate in astronomy at the University of Washington, recently made a map of the world that is outlined using only the locations of the world's runways, helicopter pads and airports.
For a map without typical borders, country and continent outlines are surprisingly well demarcated, particular the United States. The key takeaway from the map is fairly obvious: Air travel is primarily a mode of transportation used in rich countries.
The map resembles other recently-displayed novelty maps, such as maps of tweets and maps of Internet access, which likewise over-represent rich nations. After all, estimates show that only 5 percent of the world has ever flown -- and that only about a third of the world is using the Internet.
That said, the vast disparity in airport density between the United States and other countries might also be affected by the data, which Davenport retrieved from the open data website OurAirports.com. "The data seems to be more complete in the USA," Davenport writes.
Click here for a larger version of the map.
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