Internet Splat Map

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Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. BBN is the random scatter of green in the middle (early ARPANET). Sprint is the organized star topology in purple near the top. AOL is a gray disconnected island in the lower center. There is little correlation between this network connectivity graph and physical geography, except for a clustering of Pac Rim connectivity.

Here is a gallery of Internet maps by Ches of Lumeta, and Ben below provides a link to a huge map with labels.

This technique can also see the network “lights go out” during wartime bombing raids.

In a nutshell, they use a modified hacker trick of sending a storm of IP packets out randomly across the network. Each packet is programmed to self-destruct after a delay, and when this happens, the packet failure notice reports back the path the packet took before it died. To visualize this sea of data, Ches applied place & route software from the semiconductor CAD industry to untangle the hairball of data and spread it out in a 2D map that humans can easily absorb. In these maps, one can see security gaps and unknown network connections. (disclosure: we invested them when they spun out of Bell Labs)

  1. jurvetson ages ago | reply

    And then a few years later organic growth

  2. jurvetson ages ago | reply

    cool. Or an XML feed to Grokker.

  3. carignan ages ago | reply

    That is a very cool picture.

  4. *ivo* ages ago | reply

    yeah and this comment "AOL is a gray disconnected island in the lower center" is poetic in it's own right.


  5. Drew__ ages ago | reply

    Oh this is what i have been looking for....

    .. hehe you should put a "You are here" bubble...

  6. lysdexia [deleted] ages ago | reply

    Is there a legend?

  7. Ben Worthen ages ago | reply

    Some one asked for a legend. At the beginning of March, Ches and I collaborated on a map of just the North American backbone. We color coded it by the telecommunications company that owns each particular router (that's what this is a map of, routers). You can see the map and read the analysis here:

  8. jurvetson ages ago | reply

    Ben: thanks for the cool link and update.

  9. PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE 101 months ago | reply

    I was looking for a particular "Map of the internet" i saw at a conference last night, and remembered the photo of one that you have at the office. And here it is with details etc. How great =)

    PhotonQ- The World Neuro Net of Joel de Rosnay

  10. papetarie 79 months ago | reply

    this map ir for U.S. ? or for all the world ?

  11. jurvetson 79 months ago | reply

    world (back then).

    Here's a newer one of the Middle East:

    Internet Map of the Middle East

  12. theTribster 78 months ago | reply

    Here is a post that represents some very cool maps of the internet, science and complexity. These are more than maps, they are works of art.

  13. emilyrotella 61 months ago | reply

    Hi Steve,
    Thanks for putting this image on Flickr, it is really cool! I just wanted to let you know that I used it for my most recent blog post, I hope you like it!
    Freshly posted! What are your passions? I want to connect with you over it!
    Thanks again,

  14. Alacritas6 23 months ago | reply

    Hey I used your image for a school presentation.

  15. iscience12 20 months ago | reply

    We used your image for an article on the dark net. I,Science is a science magazine and website run by students from Imperial College London

  16. jurvetson 20 months ago | reply

    Cool. And Scientific American also used it here

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