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Some readers might still remember the website "An Atlas of Cyberspaces" at, now unfortunately only available as a static online archive. Back in the days, it was a very inspirational site that collected various "information maps" that explored the realm of graphical representations of "cyberspace", and of Internet networks in particular.

Now imagine a website in early 2000 that contains "visualizations" ranging from geographical ISP backbone networks, over 3D virtual worlds, to screenshots of the movies Johnny Mnemonic and The Matrix. Imagine a website that featured Brad Paley's textarc, Judith Donath's PeopleGarden, as well as Ben Fry's master thesis Tendril. It blew my mind. In fact, it was one of the main influencing factors for my own growing interest towards design and visualization. And it probably was the predecessor of the very weblog you are reading right now.

Anyway, connected to this website was a book that originally appeared in 2002. Its contents are now freely available as a series of high resolution (228MB) PDF sections available here []. The book gives an interesting overview of the early years of (more
"popular" forms of) data visualization, including chapters about mapping Internet infrastructure and traffic flows, mapping the Web, mapping online conversation and community, imagining cyberspace in art, literature, and film. It comes highly recommended.


Gunilla Elam, Ericsson Medialab

Marcos Novak

Paul Kahn

Young Hyun, CAIDA

Donna Cox and Robert Patterson, NCSA, UIUC


Cool, I remember this site from "back in the day" too, and found it similarly inspiring.

Mon 27 Oct 2008 at 5:10 PM
Robert N.

I'm attempting to keep the inspiration going on the blog 'Internet Geography', which catalogues different ways people are graphically representing and organizing the internet. I agree that the original Atlas site was a huge inspiration!

Tue 18 Nov 2008 at 10:08 AM
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