First of all, the job titles for TED speakers make excellent jokes (if you’ve got some good punchlines for these, leave them in the comments below):
To do some more serious explorations, I built an app in Processing that allows me to take the speaker list (scraped from the site) and get latitude/longitude values from the MetaCarta API. The data is stored in a Google Spreadsheet, which processing can remotely read and edit. These lat/lon points are then rendered on a globe, and the trip that each speaker takes to get to Oxford is shown as a paper airplane flight. Here are three renders, each with a different texture used on the globe:
This is a very similar system to the one I used for Just Landed – the only real difference here is that the locations and travel paths are mapped onto a globe rather than onto a flat surface. Indeed, this gives me pretty much everything I need to render a spherical version of Just Landed – when I get a spare hour or two.
A side effect of mapping all of these trips was the chance to find out how much ground (or air) was covered – I estimated that the 62 speakers at TED have travelled a total of ~182,793km to get to Oxford! I’m not even going to ask about carbon credits.
I’m not sure what the final image will look like – you’ll have to buy the issue of Wired UK – but I have been having some fun playing with this system. While a full 3D environment may seem like overkill for a print project, having the system built the way it is means that I can very quickly prototype many compositional variants, and then tweak and adjust the system as needed to get a good output for print.