The Dimes Project provides several excellent data sets that describe the structure of the Internet. Using their most recent data at the time (Feb 2007 - email me for 2011 versions), 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 reflects 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 were created that display how the net is connected. I should note this is not the first time graphs like this have been created - I've seen several 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 - the only thing you see is the data. However, it should be fairly easy to orient yourself.
Note: These visualizations use a cylindrical equidistant projection. Point latitudes and longitudes were rounded to the nearest whole number and used in a flat coordinate system. This means that the planetary surface area represented by each point varies, skewing density data (both point and edge)!
Very high resolution versions have been provided for more detailed examination or print purposes. If you do decide to print, please let me know. I'd love to see a photograph of it in your home or office.
World Connection Density
World City-to-City Connections
European City-to-City Connections
North American City-to-City Connections
|© Chris Harrison|