Tuesday, March 26, 2013

New Mobile App Maps the Internet

It’s interactive, so you can swipe and pinch your way through two views.
Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
Fast Co.Design

Link to article:
Infographic: An App That Maps the Web in Real Time

Just what we need, another mobile app that is pretty but ultimately not very useful. But Map of the Internet has one distinct selling point (or giving away point, since it is free).  The map is a teaching tool as visualization, and you can learn how the large and small nodes of ISPs and universities connect into the traffic of the internet.

Excerpt: "The map, which takes the form of a free app for Android and iOS, features 22,961 of the Internet’s biggest nodes--not individual websites, but the ISPs, universities, and other places that host them--joined by some 50,000 discrete connections. The app gives you two ways of surveying it all: geographically, on a globe, or by size, which rearranges the nodes into a loose column of points. Both views are interactive; instead of showing the Internet as a static neon blob, the app lets you explore the neon blob in the round, with all the familiar multitouch gestures. It may not look like the Google Maps app, but it instantly feels like it, which makes exploring the underbelly of the web all the easier.

Tapping on any one of the starry points brings up a bit of information on that particular node and displays all its connections to the rest. In each case, Map of the Internet lets you trace the route between you and that node, showing the precise path your device takes to reach it, in real time, as a thick orange line. It’s terrifically cool. And if ISPs and mega-hosts don’t excite you all that much, you’re not out of luck. You can search for a favorite site, and the app will zip you to the node it resides on. Spoiler: Co.Design is hosted by Amazon. The app was created by Peer 1 Hosting in collaboration with the Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis, assembled by designer Jeff Johnston and developers at Steamclock software. And while it’s a fantastic bit of eye-candy, it’s not just that. More so than any static map, the interactive model makes it simple to get a sense of what the Internet looks like--and how information flows through it."

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