Plane Tracker

Interaction Research Studio

25 January 2007


Airplanes continuously transmit information about their journey, and these signals can be captured and decoded at home. The Plane Tracker uses this data to create the imagined routes of individual flights, shown on screen as aerial imagery that flows smoothly from origin to destination. As you watch, you are able to vicariously experience the flights from the comfort of your front room. There is no particular purpose in this—the design 
is not centred on any clear task or problem. Instead, the Interaction Research Studio wanted to create a situation that highlights air travel, an issue about which different people (e.g. frequent travellers, environmental activists, plane spotters) might have different opinions. For instance, in some viewers the Plane Tracker spurs wanderlust, whilst in others it raises concerns about the environmental impact of air travel. This is part of an ongoing research on how to design for a rich interpretative flexibility.