The internet has revolutionized the way we communicate and a third of the world’s population use it to stay connected. Now, Texas-based internet cartographer and computer scientist John Matherly has used software to ‘ping’ all of these global web devices and create a map demonstrating the technology’s global reach.
In the majority of cases, this signal was sent to routers rather than individual gadgets, but Mr Matherly said iPhone and Android devices have appeared previously.
As reported on Gizmodo, this map might explain the internet better than any statistics could ever hope to: The red hot spots show where the most devices that can access the internet are located.
“This map was made on August by John Matherly, the founder of Shodan, a search engine for internet-connected devices. Matherly, who calls himself an internet cartographer, collected the data to put it together by sending ping requests to every IP address on the internet, and storing the positive responses. A ping is a network utility that sends an echo-request message (known as a packet) to an IP address—the internet’s version of “hey, are you there?”
That part was relatively easy compared to the visualization process, says Matherly. “It took less than five hours to gather the data, and another 12 hours or so to generate the map image.” For that, he used the matplotlib plotting library in the programing language Python.
With its rainbow of connectedness, the map is similar to one produced last year by folks at Caida—however, that one was illegal. Although Shodan is well-known for its potentially shady practices that prey upon insecure networks, ping requests—the same thing your internet provider uses to test speed and data loss—are completely benign, Matherly says. “We’ve just advanced enough in technology where we can do it on internet-scale.”