Mapping Peer-to-Peer Networks

Much of what happens on the Internet is invisible to the naked eye, so it’s nice to see a site that reveals the hidden structure to us visually.

The picture at left is a tiny fragment of a visualization by, a site in Berlin, Germany, that’s run by an artistic research and design group called Schoenerwissen (literally, “beautiful knowledge”). Depicted in this fragment is the number of people at Microsoft, IBM, Sun, and elsewhere who are using the Gnutella peer-to-peer network to share songs by the alt-rock group The Cranberries.

I found this map and numerous other fantastic visualizations of the Web at, a “Map of the Month” page run by the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London. The visualization I show here is from the most recent example on that page, “Mapping Peer-to-Peer Networks,” but you’ll also enjoy “Mapping How People Use a Web Site” and “Network Weather Maps.” My thanks to reader Keith Kingsland for his help with this topic. More info


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