The sheer scale of America's busiest airport can hardly be appreciated in your average layover.

If you're an air-traveling American, there's a good chance you've been to Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. But unless Atlanta is a frequent final destination, odds are you've probably only been in the airport for an hour or two at a time, waiting on a connection. A typical passenger's ATL experiences are limited to whatever concourse we're destined for and maybe a quick ride on the Plane Train.

From these experiences alone, it's hard to appreciate just how massive and complex Atlanta's airport truly is. You can sense at least some of it when you're inside, but the totality of the place, which functions in many ways like its own mini-city, needs to be taken in on a larger scale. With that in mind, here's a look from above, via Google Earth, at the more beautiful and strange elements of a typical day at Hartsfield-Jackson International.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Workers in downtown London head to their jobs.
    POV

    How Cities Can Rebuild the Social Safety Net

    In an age of employment uncertainty and a growing income gap, urban America needs to find new ways to support its citizens.

  2. Transportation

    The Diverging Diamond Interchange Is Coming to a Road Near You

    Drivers may be baffled by these newfangled intersections, but they’re safer than traditional four-way stops.

  3. The Presidio Terrace neighborhood
    POV

    The Problem of Progressive Cities and the Property Tax

    The news that a posh San Francisco street was sold for delinquent taxes exposes the deeper issue with America’s local revenue system.

  4. Poverty

    L.A. County’s Latest Solution to Homelessness Is a Test of Compassion

    Residents can get up to $75,000 to build a “granny flat”—if they open it up to a homeless family.

  5. Communal space at classroom in Espoo, Finland.
    Design

    Why Finland Is Embracing Open-Plan School Design

    The country’s educational successes are undeniable, but simply demolishing school walls alone won’t necessarily replicate them.