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Summary:

Most geeks like maps, and if it happens to be an interactive maps of the internet, then that’s just even better. Peer1 has released an app showing how everyone is connected.

internetmapglobal
photo: Peer1

The folks at Peer1, the hosting provider, have my number. They just released a map of the Internet that combines my love of cartography and connectivity in one beautiful mash up of pixels. The app is pretty simple, and shows the connections between bandwidth providers around the world.

It’s an update to the a physical map Peer1 did in 2011, that was also awesome, but thanks to the Android and iOS apps you can now play around with the map in a global view or a network view. The global view is like one of those satellite images of city lights at night with glowing dots representing connections. The network view is a bit more esoteric, clustering those with the most connections at one end.

The network view.

The network view.

It’s pretty basic, focusing mostly on the names of the players and how many connections they have to others on the net. For example it shows Hurricane Electric and Level 3 with more than a thousand connections to other peers while Google has 59. Apple and Facebook have 32 and 17 respectively. The app also allows you to perform a traceroute to measure how long it takes packets to traverse the networks, but that function wasn’t working on the iOS version I downloaded.

A global view with provider info.

A global view with provider info.

There’s also a little timeline where you can watch how the internet spreads with more providers and connection points popping up. As for why Peer1 did an app instead of a poster or even a web site, Rajan Sodhi of PEER 1 said via email:

“We decided to go with a mobile app for phones and tablets because we wanted to take advantage of the human gesturing – tapping, pinching, swiping, panning, rotating, etc – to make a more interactive and immersive experience for the user. The internet is complex, as the user can see, and we want to simplify or humanize it to make it more understandable.”

I can’t wait to show my daughter as just one more way to explain how we’re all connected using the internet. This isn’t an app you’d use every day, but it is a beautiful way to show someone what the internet looks like.

  1. Nice project! I wonder what the data source of this app is. To my knowledge it is basically impossible for one provider to have an overview of all the possible connections as some networks may choose to not announce certain routes to certain competitors.

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  2. Uta Meier-Hahn Wednesday, March 6, 2013

    Nice project! I wonder what the data source of this app is. To my knowledge it is basically impossible for one provider to have an overview of all the possible connections as some networks may choose to not announce certain routes to certain competitors.

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    1. Great question – here’s the answer. PEER 1 Hosting’s Map of the Internet is based on Internet topology from the Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis (CAIDA), the app showcases the Internet’s evolution from its beginning to the present day, depicting 22,961 autonomous system nodes joined by 50,519 connections. The data is as of Jan 2013 stats. The search function and trace route is based on real-time data.

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  3. IPv6 support to display the new Internet?

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