The idea of creating a map of the internet isn’t new. Many have attempted since the democratization of interconnected networks, and especially with the massive growth of the world wide web. We can more or less categorize them as follow:
- Infrastructure maps: maps showing the geographical location of the physical infrastructure used to link devices across the globe: servers and data centers, submarine cables (Figure 1), antennas, satellites (Figure 2) etc. These contain some interesting information especially when observing from a geopolitical perspective: it is clear that countries with large advanced economies and major industrialized centers are at the foremost of connectivity. But these do not actually show us the amount of people connected to the internet, nor the density of the content created.
- Abstract maps: these infographics focus on the abstract content, queries and connections through the worldwide network. These include The Internet Map project by Ruslan Enikeev (Figure 4) where websites traffic and links are shown as circles with varying size and proximity.
- Hybrid maps that show a combination of measurements to represent the organic nature of the internet while maintaining some spatial coherence. A perfect example is the Global Internet Map (Figure 5). The Opte Project (Figure 6) used traceroute and subsequently Border Gateway Protocols, best represented through an animation to capture the temporal element.
In the end, we shouldn’t forget about the infinite different ways to visually represent intangible ideas such as the immense internet (Figure 7). After all, maps are simply rendered by our imagination…
TeleGeography. Subamrine Cable Map. Available at https://www.submarinecablemap.com/
SatelliteXplorer. Available at https://geoxc-apps.bd.esri.com/space/satellite-explorer/
Ang, C 2021. Mapped: The Fastest (and Slowest) Internet Speeds in the World. Visual Capitalist. Available at https://www.visualcapitalist.com/mapped-the-fastest-and-slowest-internet-speeds-in-the-world/
The Opte Project. Available at https://www.opte.org/
Enikeev, R. The Internet Map. Available at http://internet-map.net/
The Internet Mapping Project, 2022. Available at https://kk.org/ct2/the-internet-mapping-project/
Krisetya, M. Lairson, L. Mauldin, A. 2021. Global Internet Map 2021. TeleGeography. Available at https://global-internet-map-2021.telegeography.com/