The Technium

Taxonomy of Internet Maps

A fews ago I posted my growing collection of hand-drawn maps of the internet. (If you’d like to contribute one, there’s a button to download the blank PDF.) The intent behind this effort is to capture the unconscious layout that ordinary people have in mind when they navigate the internet. In posting the images on Flickr I suggested that they would make great fodder for a creative scholar. Much to my surprise two days later, a professor in Argentina wrote the first paper with a first attempt to classify this initial set of maps.

Mara Vanina Oses is a psychologist and professor of media at the Psychology School at the University of Buenos Aires. You can view her report (PDF) here.

A few samples of her results:

Picture 25

…Even when a lot of people have the idea that Internet is the network of networks a lot more don’t have yet this idea; they see the Internet as a connection with a center (star) as a way to get to the rest of the items (mesh) or as a simple line of items.

Picture 24

So far we have that 2 out of 5 people consider themselves as the center of Internet and 1 out of 5 can’t place him/herself there (either because he/she could be anywhere or because doesn’t found a place).

  • herbIE

    i mailed you about your article in wired about socialism.if you got it it didn’t show, i appreciate your thanks. my computer doesnt have a pencil in adobe so i couldn’t draw a large bowl of spaghetti with home distributed quasi randomly on the strands. yes a washing machine or a toaster is different that those telecommunicating technologies you mentioned, and the internet is different than those prior communication techniques, but how different? is the difference one of quality or scale? i see bosses and workers here, just like outside in the physical world. i see producers and consumers here just like in the physical world. i see people with networking skills, by networking i mean “good old boy” just like in the physical world. my wife’s parents got a toaster in the 1930’s as a wedding present. its still working who can say that about a toaster made 10-20 years ago? even one of those designer brands. so maybe for you mr pangloss, this is the best of all possible worlds, for me its not the best or the worst, but just because i’m sitting at my terminal expressing myself seeing my words in a box, remember just to the right are the ads by google placed there by people whose interest isn’t different than the white men, captains of industry who treated the workers like shit, but could make a damned fine toaster.

  • marco borgna

    Hi kelly,
    just a quick suggestion about a “internet map” :

    all internet in a single image.. ((( just dmoz map )))

    it’s an old and forgot project: a “sunburst diagram” not the full internet… but a quite big slice. Nobody as ever payed me for this type of research: so data is OOOOOLDDDDD

    can you spot a bug in colors ? :D