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. A man walks out of the door frame of a building that collapsed after an earthquake, in the Condesa neighborhood of Mexico City, Tuesday, September 19, 2017.
    Environment

    Mexico City's Earthquake, Through Residents' Eyes

    Here’s how locals responded when shocks struck the city.

  2. Transportation

    Portland Prepares for the Freeway Fight of the Century

    A grass-capped highway expansion in a gentrifying neighborhood? Sounds familiar.

  3. POV

    How to Save a Dying Suburb

    For older, inner-ring suburbs in the Northeast and Midwest, the best hope often lies in merging with the city.

  4. Equity

    This Startup Helps You Buy a House (If You Hand Over Your Airbnb Income)

    For buyers in hot real-estate markets, a new kind of mortgage offered by a company called Loftium might offer a way to purchase a home.

  5. Design

    Octopuses Are Urbanists, Too

    Scientists were surprised to find that this smart and solitary species had built a cephalopod city. Why?