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Themesicon: navigation pathMapping and Texticon: navigation pathInternetmapping

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Today, we live in a map saturated world, surrounded by both conventional geographic maps and many other maplike spatial images and models (e.g. animated satellite images, three-dimensional city models, magnetic resonance imaging scans of the brain). Maps and visualizations have long been used as mode of analysis, providing a uniquely powerful way of making the world more comprehensible. Mapping provides a means by which to classify, represent and communicate information about areas that are too large and too complex to be seen directly. Well designed maps are relatively easy-to-interpret, and constitute concentrated databases of information about the location, shape and size of key features of a landscape and the connections between them. Moreover, the process of spatialisation, where a spatial, map-like structure is applied to data where no inherent or obvious one exists, can provide an interpretable structure to large databases of abstract information.[1] In essence, maps and spatialisations exploit the mind›s ability to more readily see complex relationships in images, providing a clear understanding of a phenomena, reducing search time, and revealing


relationships that may otherwise not been noticed. Here I illustrate the power of a mapping strategy by focusing on its utility in comprehending Internet infrastructure, although mapping and spatialisation can be used to develop an understanding of many different aspects of cyberspace including the structure of the Web and online social interactions.[2]


Maps of the Internet

Internet infrastructure, and its use, is often taken for granted because, unlike roads or railways, it is largely invisible: buried underground, snaking across ocean floors, hidden inside wall conduits, or floating unseen in orbit above us. Indeed, given its invisibility it is easy to assume that it is as ethereal and virtual as the information and communication that it supports. Consequently, there are a number of elements to Internet infrastructure that we presently have little systematic knowledge about, such as the form and function of backbone networks and their subsidiaries, network routing and aggregate traffic conditions, user demographics, marketing penetration and ownership, the physical location of computer servers (hosts) and

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