What the hell is this? Neurons firing up inside a brain? An installation with several Tesla coils? A weird electrical storm phenomenon? A color-inverted photo of an spiders orgy? A new nano-technology organic-based processor?

Actually, it's Google Maps "mapplet", like Ground Zero, the nuke your fav city app. It shows air traffic in the US based on the data from FlightView, a page that tracks air traffic in real time. You can see it using three different criteria. The first is altitude—which is the one you are seeing here. The darker blues indicate higher altitude, while the lightest blue indicates take off and landing.

This is the model view, showing 543 different airplane models, each with a different color.


And here are the airplanes sorted by manufacturer.

It's not as awesome as the amazing air/ground/sea traffic visualizations done by the BBC, but it's cool to be able to zoom in and access this data in real time. I just wish it was animated. Check the mapplet here. [Wired]