Most detailed (and coolest) map of worldwide Internet use, ever

An anonymous hacker with some curiosity, and apparently a conscious, accessed half a million devices connected to the Internet, worldwide, and kept track of when they were or weren’t accessing the Internet.

He then transferred all this data into an animated gif image. The result is a gorgeous look at how much, and when, the Internet is used across the entire globe.

In the image below, red is a lot, blue is not so much. The hacker notes that “the difference between day and night is lower for US and Central Europe because of the higher number of ‘always on’ Internet connections.”

geovideoAdam Clark Estes over at Motherboard does a much better job than I can explaining how this was done, and what it all means.  But it is a neat look at the Internet and the world.

I like Estes’ conclusion:

No matter how you like to picture the Internet or what you think it looks like, though, it’s pretty safe to say that these visualizations will only become more complex. With cheap smartphones taking off in Africa and $20 tablets popping up in India, the world is becoming more connected by the minute. So in a few years’ time that confetti-colored map of the world above will look less like chart of privilege and more like an acid trip of progress.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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20 Responses to “Most detailed (and coolest) map of worldwide Internet use, ever”

  1. Naja pallida says:

    Haha, I’m not going to pass up a good opportunity to do a little research, especially when I wanted to know! :)

  2. Jim Olson says:

    Thanks, Naja. It was sort of a rhetorical question, but your answer was awesome!

  3. Naja pallida says:

    The dot in northern Canada looks to be Resolute, Nunavut… little town of about 300 people, that does have Internet service. The northern-most one Russia looks to be around Nordvik Bay. Back in the Soviet days there was a town and penal facility there, but the area was abandoned. Now there’s a lot of mining in the region, obviously something must have grown up there. The dot in the middle of Greenland must be Summit Camp, a research station. Almost all the actual towns in Greenland are along the coast, not in the middle of the ice sheet. Of course, northern Norway is obviously well connected. Even far reaching towns like Honningsvag and Hammerfest are home to thousands of people.

    In the south, that little dot in the middle of the south Atlantic, I think is Bouvet Island. An uninhabited nature preserve… any connectivity from there must be from a weather or research station of some sort. Far southern South America, Ushuaia, Argentina has a population of like 60,000 people, so is undoubtedly connected.

    Pretty cool to think that within our lifetimes that most of these settlements would have been almost entirely cut off from the rest of the world, and probably only had contact with the outside a few times a year at most when the weather permitted supplies to be brought in. Now they can browse the whole world’s porn from the comfort of their homes.

  4. citizen_spot says:


  5. jixter says:

    It’s 80% – or so I’ve heard, anyway.

  6. Michael Parido says:

    They’re taking phone calls.

  7. Jim Olson says:

    I love the dots of data way off by themselves. Who is the northernmost internet user?

  8. goulo says:

    Fun map!
    FWIW: “a conscience” (not “a conscious”)

  9. Papa Bear says:

    I worked as a professional editor for various publications for a quarter century. My favorite all-time quote came from a software engineer who was providing some input for a user’s manual I was writing.

    “If you need any help,” he proudly said. “I’m something of a writer myself.” Meaning, of course, that I didn’t need to edit anything he gave me since he’d taken an English class in high school…

  10. Naja pallida says:

    I edited pretty extensively for over a year, but got tired of having the same arguments over and over and over. And having to justify every edit to people who knew nothing on the topic. There is a whole behind the scenes community of holier-than-thou people who, because they’ve randomly edited the typos and grammar of a thousand pages, believe that they are the be-all and end-all of what is acceptable for articles. Most users never get to see the chaos behind the scenes, but it’s a real mess. An experiment in anarchy. It is a miracle that it seems to operate so smoothly, if all you want to do is read information.

  11. I used to want to edit (hell, rewrite in many cases) a lot of the chemical articles, but then I figured that I’d be spending hours pulling all my books off the shelf to write something worthwhile, only to have it edited out from under me by someone who’s probably never actually contributed any content of their own. I think it ought to be possible to devise a system by which you can only make what I’ll call “negative” edits if you’ve contributed a minimum quantity of actual content.

  12. Naja pallida says:

    Hehe, that’s really one of the reasons I gave up editing Wikipedia. Too many passive-aggressive bitch-fests. And so many people that would rather rip apart other people’s articles, than take any effort to actually improve them.

  13. If you filter out all the people who make it their mission to add “[citation needed]” after every full stop in every article, is there any traffic left?

  14. Interesting that India gets active before China. You think it would be the other way around.

  15. Naja pallida says:

    Another kind of nifty one, at least for geeks like me, is the real-time Wikipedia editor viewer.

  16. Naja pallida says:

    Only 40% for porn? I used to work for a local ISP, at any given moment of any given day, about 60% of the bandwidth was being used for porn of some sort.

  17. d3clark says:

    And clicking “Like” on Facebook.

  18. cole3244 says:

    we had better get a similar map of the areas that are in danger of flooding when the oceans rise as a result of global warming, oh that’s right god will save us so never mind.

  19. You need to work out “BitTorrenting music and software” in there too.

  20. nicho says:

    Here’s how it breaks down:

    20% — looking at pictures of cats
    30% — arguing with strangers
    10% — shopping
    40% — downloading porn

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