How does the internet look like?

Most of us have seen it before, pictures showing lines across the screen which should visualize the internet. I was never really impressed with these pictures. Until I saw the latest pictures from the Dimes Project on Chris Harrison’s blog.

Quote from his entry: “The Dimes Project provides several excellent data sets that describe the structure of the Internet. Using their most recent city edges data (Feb 2007), I created a set of visualizations that display how cities across the globe are interconnected (by router configuration and not physical backbone). In total, there are 89,344 connections.

The first rendering displays the relative densities of Internet connectivity across the globe. The stronger the contrast, the more connectivity there is. It is immediately obvious, for example, that North America and Europe are considerably more connected than Africa or South America. However, it is important to note that this only reflect density of connections, and not usage. Hundreds of people may utilize a single connection in an internet cafe, often the only form of connectivity people have access to in developing nations.

Additionally, three graphs showing network connections were created. I should note this is not the first time graphs like this have been created – I’ve seen dozens of variations, most being practical in nature (e.g. cable locations, bandwidth). I decided to pursue an aesthetic approach – one more visually intriguing and interesting to explore than useful. The intensity of edge contrast reflects the number of connections between the two points. No country borders or geographic features are shown. However, it should be fairly easy to orient yourself.


See for yourself.

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