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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(s goog) and iOS apps(s aapl) 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.
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(s fb) 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.
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.