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Are we there yet? Internet map shows giants of the cyber sky

Ever since medieval cartographers warned their fellow explorers ‘here be dragons’ maps have been a fascinating and illuminating way of visualising our world. Now, cyber space has been mapped too by data-visualisation designer Ruslan Enikeev.

The first thing to note about the Internet map is that it’s a beautiful thing to look at. It’s far closer to one of those wonderful photographs of the night sky than to anything you’d use to get from A to B.
Enikeev, who makes no money from this project and is appealing for donations to help meet his hosting costs, has turned to the laws of physics to create his plan.

Each site is a circle, its size dependent on web traffic, and coloured according to its nationality. The relative positions of the circles are decided by the links formed as people move from one site to another.
The light blue of the United States dominates the map and the biggest body of them all is, unsurprisingly, Google.com. Challenging it for size are Facebook, Yahoo, Live.com and Twitter.

The map also links sites by their content (there’s a detailed run down of all the science involved available at the site), making for some fascinating juxtapositions. The mapper himself notes that: “a vast porno cluster can be seen between Brazil and Japan”. And, while Blogspot – Google’s blogging platform – is an American site it has been dragged close to the Iranian section of the map. Wordpress, another blogging site, floats off on its own in empty space.

The BBC’s site is a giant of the United Kingdom’s slice of cyber space and other news and politics sites cluster around it. It seems too, that lots of South Africans must use it for their news as red .za sites also orbit it closely.

It may be a struggle to find a practical use for all this beautifully presented information. Enikeev has mapped more than 350,000 sites and over 2 million links and created something of beauty.

View the map here:

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