Beautiful, Intriguing, and Illegal Ways to Map the Internet

In 2013, an anonymous hacker mapped the Internet through illegal means, and in the process

In 2013, an anonymous hacker mapped the Internet through illegal means, and in the process exposed rampant security problems. The project, called Internet Census 2012, used 420,000 networked devices, dubbed the Carna Botnet, to ping IP addresses across the globe in 2012. Every one of the devices was either entirely unsecured with no password protection, or used the standard password “root” that comes with many off-the-shelf routers (users are supposed to change the password, but rarely do). The hacker released all of the collected data to the public domain in a sort of research paper. The animation above is a map based on that data that shows 24-hours of Internet use.

This map from 2011 by designer Nicolas Rapp shows the fiber optic cables that traverse the oceans carrying information from one continent to the other. The shades of blue show the percentage of a country’s population that uses the Internet (darker shades indicate a lower percentage).

The Internet Map is a snapshot of the the global network as it stood in 2011. The size of the bubbles represent relative amounts of traffic to each site (the data is continuously updated and current according toAlexa). The colors represent countries and proximity represents the relative number of connections between sites. The map shows more than 350,000 sites from 196 countries and uses information about more than 2 million links between sites.

This topological map of the Internet, published in 2007 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the result of years of research into the structure and connections of the Internet. The core of the structure contains around 80 nodes that have a lot of connections with other well-connected nodes. surrounding the core is a region of around 5,000 less-connected nodes that are dependent on the core. Beyond that lies a ring of around 15,000 more self-sufficient, peer-connected nodes.

The first iteration of the Internet was known as ARPANET. It was built in 1969 by BBN Technologies and funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense (known today as DARPA). It used the same basic technologies that today’s Internet is founded on. This image is a logical map of ARPANET as it stood in 1977. Geographical representations of ARPANET are about as adorable as any baby pictures.

The Opte Project was created by Barrett Lyon to help people visualize the internet by making a map of the relationship between every routable network using a single computer and Internet connection. The result is the map on the left from 2004. The colors represent regions (blue is North America, red is Asia Pacific, green isr Euope/Middle East/Central Asia/Africa, yellow is Latin America and the Carribbean, cyan is RFC1918 IP Addresses, and white is unknown). The image on the right from 2010, currently on display at the MoMA in NYC, uses BGP rather than raw traceroutes. The most connection points are represented by the highest temperature colors of light.

This “Map of the Submarine Cables connecting the World” pays homage to “the lost art of cartographic sea monster illustrations.” The sea monsters are borrowed from real historical maps, including three from Olaus Magnus’s legendary Carta Marina.

The Internaut Explorer visualizes DMOZ, an open-data directory of the internet maintained by volunteer editors. The interactive map has points representing 3,809,444 pages and 782,239 topics from February 2015. See a close-up on the next slide.

This close up of the Internaut Explorer shows clusters for dozens of topics including golf, weather, ethnicity, youth, North Palm Beach, Beaverton, and Erika.

This is a topological map of the Internet from May 30, 2015 created by The Internet Mapping Project, which was one of the first major mapping efforts. It was started in 1998 at Bell Labs and then moved to a Lucent/Bell Labs spin-off called Lumeta in 2000. The lines on this map represent the shortest outgoing route from a test computer at Lumeta in Somerset, New Jersey to 450,000 registered nets on the Internet. The creators of this map used programs that arrange the map based on rules that simulate springs and repelling forces. See a close-up on the next slide.

A close-up of the Internet Mapping Project topological map on the previous slide. Each end node represents a handful of computers on a small network, each intermediate node is a router. The colors represent different domain extensions (red is .com, yellow is .edu, block is .gov, etc.) or countries (U.S. is a greyish green, Russia is purple, Germany is brown, etc.).

TeleGeography’s Global Internet Map shows the bandwidth connecting various parts of the world in 2011. At that time, London led all cities with over 11 Tbps of international internet capacity. Europe led the world with 40.7 Tbps, followed by the U.S. and Canada with 16.6 Tbps, Asia with 9.6 Tbps, Latin America with 5.1 Tbps and Africa with 571 Gbps.

This “web trend” map from 2009 plots the major Internet players and websites as stops on the Tokyo Metro system. Each website is situated on or near a line that runs through similar sites. There are lines for news, entertainment, sharing, opinion, creativity, money and more. See a close-up on the next slide.

A close-up of the center of the web trend map. The height of each station represents the site’s success based on traffic, revenue and media attention (in 2009). The width of the station “illustrates the stability of the domain as a business entity.” WIRED appears near the bottom left corner on the news line.

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