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With winter weather wreaking havoc in the airspace above Pruned HQ, Chicago, I thought I'd post a small portion of a VFR map that someone digitized and then overlaid on Google Maps. The map covers the continental United States plus Alaska and Hawaii, parts of Canada and Mexico, and a good chunk of the Caribbean.


Quoting the ever reliable Wikipedia, VFR is short for visual flight rules, which are a “set of regulations under which a pilot operates an aircraft in weather conditions generally clear enough to allow the pilot to see where the aircraft is going.”

As a brief aside, the super-density of the map reminds me of the “equations” inscribed at Waterfall Rocks in the Fox series, Terra Nova. A running mystery among the new arrivals to the Late Cretaceous, those sprawling rock glyphs, we fortunately learn just before the show's cancellation, were instructions on how to design two-way portals between the deep past and the far future. Given the near total indecipherability of the VFR map to my untrained eyes, its constellations of discs and polygons embedded in a fibrous mesh of vectors and cuneiforms could easily be mistaken by closet fans of the much maligned television show as instructions for trans-temporal travel.

Here's another portion of the VFR map showing the cluttered air territoriality around Los Angeles:


Surely the entire map could be marketed, perhaps in partnership with MyTopo, not as supersized wall maps but as wall paper. Specifically, use them to redecorate nursery rooms, daycare playpens and kindergarten classrooms into simulant Cubes and CAVEs to kickstart the visual acuity and muscle memory of the very young for an urban future hermetically sealed not in office cubicles but in immersive control rooms of the coming Data Totality.

In these Neo-Baroque rooms of blurred physical and virtual spaces, running crayons on the walls will be preparatory training for transiting information packets through omni-surveilled terrains.

Control Room

Or these same rooms could be the training grounds for an acting career in a future Hollywood of nonstop Prometheus perversions, learning long before theater schools the fine art of gestural swording.

  • Logan
  • February 28, 2013 at 12:55:00 AM CST
  • Thank you for the interesting article as usual. An angle you did not discuss is the way that air space (a completely abstract idea) can influence the landscape. From building parks under approach paths to sound pollution in national parks.

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