April 23, 2009

Web Trends Metro Map

This map surely caught most everyone's eyes when the final beta version was released a few weeks ago. (link is from TechCrunch, Information Architects created the map).

Picture referenced from Flickr (High resolution version). For a more interactive experience - check out Zoomorama.

Every year Information Architects (iA) overlays the 333 most influential internet domains and the 111 most influential people on the internet on top of the Tokyo Metro map. With help from mapping enthusiasts, iA maps each domain and person to a stop on the rail network. As an added twist - the maps are available for a high quality printing, but the firm will only be producing 1000 of them. So get your requests in now.

This visualization is a joy to explore - I especially like the different colored rails lines, representing different types of internet traffic, like applications, broadcasting, etc. For example, The Pirate Bay is on an intersection between the sharing line and the filter line. This makes sense, because they are a torrent (file-sharing) search engine. If I follow the pink filter line up from The Pirate Bay, I eventually hit Google, which is a central stop on the filter line. Google also intersects with the applications line.

IA put a ton of time into creating this masterpiece - it takes a few minutes to get used to, but spatial locations are also relevant on the map. This means that CNN is close to YouTube, and the Onion is close to ESPN. This map is a blast to play with - please comment with any observations that you find, particularly if parts of the map layout do not make sense.

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