More than one million people are affected by the air traffic in and out of London Heathrow.
Aircrafts produce a considerable amount of noise, especially during takeoff and landing. The concept of this visualization shows a neutral, purely data-driven look at this controversial topic. Here, data of Europe’s busiest airport London Heathrow was analyzed and visualized.
Airport London Heathrow
With its two parallel runways, Heathrow handels over 1200 aircrafts every day, making it the busiest dual runway in the world. One runway handels take-offs while the other one handels landings. Departing aircrafts take one of 16 routes. The routes are shaped in a special manner to avoid the densly populated areas surrounding the airport.
Population around the airport
For the visualization, a radius of 20 kilometers around the airport was chosen. For determining the dot sizes, a square grid was defined. Each square covers an area of 500 x 500 meters (25 hectare). The 2011’s census data measured the population density per hectare. Multiplied by 25 it gives the approximate number of people living in every square. This resulted in six different dot sizes.
Every colour represents an individual noise level depending of the type of airplane. Based on a synaesthetic colour perception, blue and red were chosen as the base colours. According to the work of Radtke, Pisani and Wolters the colour blue is perceived as quiet, while red is perceived as noisy. There are four gradations between blue and red, which increase in luminosity.
The brighter colours are perceived as dominant, analogous to noise. Populated areas which are not affected by the aircraft noise, stay grey in colour.
The wind speed is displayed in knots, one knot is represented by an arc-line, so the number of lines show the windspeed. The wind direction defines the departure and arrival routes.
The poster shows the average aircraft noise during one day. The wind distribution is indicated by concentric arcs that span the direction the wind is coming from.
Each aircraft movement is represented by coloured squares. As an aircraft moves through the airspace, a distinctive animation is triggered in between the fore- and background layers. Now the dots get their individual colours based on the noise level, that affects that particular area.
Time scaling gives a high added value to the digital prototype. This feature enables to speed up the playback from real time to 60 times faster playback. Thanks to this, the viewer can have a complete overview of the noise exposure of Heathrow’s surrounding area.