Melbourne’s trains from the air

Click to play video

This outstanding satellite-like view of Melbourne’s trains running over the course of a day was developed about twelve months ago by Flink Labs, a new Melbourne data visualisation firm. In their words:

“Inspired by the foraging of ants and their pheromone trails, this visualisation provides the viewer with a satellite-like view of the entire train network over an accelerated timeframe. The visualisation exposes the ebbs and flows of the system along with a surprising level of complexity, not obvious to the viewer at a single point in time or at the scale of an individual train.

The day starts and the train network awakens, slowly at first, then increases to peak hour levels around 9am. A steady active state continues through the day, then increases again as school students, then workers, commute home from the city. Finally, the system quietens as the last trains depart at the end of the day.

Click to go to inter-active version

This project transmogrifies the viewer from the scale of a single train, station, or route, to the level of the city and system as a whole. Through this de-magnification, patterns of movement that were previously hidden become magically visible. The movement of train traffic across the network becomes obvious, and the complexity of the system evident”.

Just as well they do outstanding visuals because like many artists and designers words are not their forte (“transmogrifies”, “de-magnification”?!!!). I thought the Moody Blues were on the job there for a minute.

Here’s another interesting visual by Flink Labs that was prepared for the App My State competition that I covered here. It’s a bit rough in places (e.g. the”commute time” is how long it takes to travel to the CBD, not average commute time) but I’m surprised it didn’t win a prize.


4 Comments on “Melbourne’s trains from the air”

  1. Michael says:

    Very interesting graphics. I wish the “Live Where” had a larger map. It would be great to see more detail.

  2. Ben says:

    Alan, thank you for the kind words….you’ve made us laugh at the moody blues comment 🙂

    We are hoping to take the live where piece live with some more data and bigger/more detailed maps this year.

  3. Benno says:

    From the description of ‘Flink weather’: “…Inspired by the events of Black Saturday…”

    Did the Moody Blues ever come up with something of that ilk? A phrase like that would kill the career of any politician who uttered it.

  4. […] year I linked to an animation of Melbourne’s trains system developed by Flink Labs. This one (click on map) shows a day in the life of public transport […]


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