Robert Simmon, NASA Earth Observatory’s lead visualizer talks about how they made visualisations of the cloud of Icelandic volcanic ash. The widespread flight cancellations were not due to ash filling the skies but uncertainty about where the ash was. In accounts of travellers experiences during the volcanic activity this uncertainty in the sky also became uncertainty on the ground through boats, trains and coaches that might or might not be departing, routes across Europe that may or may not be possible, connections that may or may not be reached in time and flights that might or might start flying. (at Cemore‘s ‘Stranded: Lava, dust, people and aeroplanes‘ – workshop at Lancaster University)
These visualisations that communicate the spread of ash suggest an uncertain world, a stark contrast with the cloud free, easily browsed globe of google earth.