From the hub of activity in the East China Sea to the relative quiet of Somalia’s piracy afflicted waters — the below map shows the extraordinary extent of modern shipping’s reach.
The map — created by London-based data visualisation and digital journalism studio Kiln and the UCL Energy Institute — charts global merchant fleet movements over the course of 2012.
It was made by taking data on the location and speed of ships and cross-checking it with another database regarding vessel characteristics, like engine type and hull measurements.
You can pan and zoom in the usual ways, and skip back and forward in time using the timeline at the bottom of the screen.
The controls at the top right also let you show and hide different map layers: port names, the background map, routes (a plot of all recorded vessel positions), and the animated ships view. There are also controls for filtering and colouring by vessel type.