Cell Phone Signals Mapping Turns the World Into a Psychedelic Landscape

It’s a good thing we can’t actually see sell phone signals, because they look ridiculous trippy. At least, in this visualization by visualizer extraordinaire, Nickolay Lamm. The images are, to say the least, like a disco rave gone hexagonal, an undulating wave of nausea on the verge of a really colorful seizure.

Here’s what you are seeing:

A regular, hexagonal grid of cellular base-station sites is conceptualized for Chicago, with stations at the corners of the hexagons. The area within each sector antenna radiation pattern has different users being assigned different frequencies and their signals combine to form a single perceived color in that instant. Different channel combinations from sector to sector are indicated by different colors. The channel combinations shown are not static, but rather change rapidly in time as different users are assigned different channels.

Here’s New York:

And Hollywood:

Luckily, these are static photographs – Lamm hypothesized that in real life, the signals would be changing and moving, much like our smartphone use.