One World Observatory Reactive Visitor Data Visualization

One World Observatory

New York, NY

Delivering a personalized welcome moment to each visitor, pulled from a world of data.

The Ask

Welcome visitors to New York City's most anticipated new observation deck in a way that not both makes them feel special and highlights their connection to all of those around them.

The Journey

Engineer a system that turns real-time ticket scans and guest information into visual data, creating meaningful and shareable moments for each and every visitor to the observation deck.

The Solution

A 65′ wide by 16′ tall world map projection which displays each visitor's country of origin, along with fun statistics and a personalized welcome message.

An interactive, self-guided virtual tour

One World Observatory in New York City is full of great multimedia experiences, but visitors’ first will be a room-sized data visualization that puts them on the map. Just after they scan their ticket, they’ll be greeted by a 65′ wide by 16′ tall world map projection which welcomes them from wherever in the world they’ve traveled from.

Visitors to the one world obervatory view the reactive data visualization projected in the welcome lobby.

We sift through anonymized data in real time to compute relevant statistics, and use country of origin data to geolocate every visitor's country of origin.

Visitors gather in the welcome lobby to see their home states and countries appear on the map-based data visualization.

Everyone is welcome

The top-floor public space in the rebuilt One World Trade Center shoulders a significant responsibility. Overlooking the moving 9/11 Memorial pools and sharing the same address as the 9/11 Museum, the goal of the One World Observatory is not to reflect on the past, but to celebrate the now and the power of rebirth. The street address of One World is taken metaphorically for the observatory to embrace the idea that we are all part of the same one world and are all welcome in the great melting pot of New York City. To express this sentiment, Stimulant worked with The Hettema Group to create an impressive and very personal data visualization installation in the attraction’s Welcome Lobby.

A visitor explores the world map to find his country of origin on the wall.

Putting every visitor on the map

The experience recognizes everyone that walks through the front door and uses their ticket purchase information to create a special and impactful moment at the point of entry. We integrated against the cloud-hosted point-of-sale system ]to access the home location of every ticket holder. Data was anonymous – we only received zip codes for US ticket holders and country names for international visitors. Using this data, we display the geographic origin of every visitor on a wall-sized interactive map. Timed to ensure that the highlight doesn’t occur until they’ve cleared security, we were able to create a wow moment as visitors clear security, enter into a cavernous, quiet room, and see their home state or country highlighted on the map alongside other visitors. T

This data visualization provides an Instagrammable moment of pride when the location flashes on the screen. In addition, the more-often-than-not shared moment of recognizing there’s someone else who just arrived that’s from the same far-flung part of the world is exciting and a great icebreaker to meet fellow travelers and citizens with whom there is a shared culture and context.

A wide shot of the real-time data visualization in the welcome lobby of the one world observatory.

Multiple projectors combined to create a seamless 65-foot-wide image across a curved surface.

Who, where, now

The experience features several different modes. A familiar-looking world-map shows real-time home locations of visitors as they arrive to the observation deck. Every few minutes, the entire map warps into a globe-shaped data visualization. In this mode, the globe is covered with pins of various heights. The higher the pin, the greater the number of visitors that have come from that part of the world. Over time, this globe has become a living heat map that shows where the greatest number of people have attended from, and server to show the global appeal of this world-class destination. In addition, various statistics are displayed, such as the total number of miles traveled by visitors to get to the observatory and the most-visited-from countries.

A shot of the reactive data visualization that greets visitors in their native language.

As visitors pass from the lobby into the entrance hall for the experience, a welcome message appears to them in their native language.

A true worldly welcome

As a subtle personalized touch, the display over the portal to the passage to the elevators is topped with a welcome message in a variety of different languages. Using the same location data, the word “welcome” is timed to display in the language of the current visitors as they pass into the next stage of the attraction.

A software developer fine-tunes code for the installation.
The One World Observatory ticketing office prepares to open.
An exterior shot of One World Trade Center.