March 27, 2011 AT 12:04 pm

Here Be Dragons: Ancient Maps of the Internet

Check out these awesome maps of cyberspace, compiled by Martin Dodge. They have a weird mythological and ancestral quality to them, which I think you’ll appreciate.

Thanks to John Wilbanks for the tip!

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  1. Those maps brought up a really odd memory. Back in the early days of UUCP, you had to route email <i>by hand</i>. For example, if somebody at Berkeley wanted to send email to a friend at Tektronix, the address was:


    This goofy set of circumstances didn’t last long; software and routing tables were published to automate the process, then the Internet kicked in and UUCP went away.

  2. I remember getting onto the ARPAnet in 1984 and pinging goonhilly from the US. It was a profound experience. Later, I was at UC/Boulder 1988-1991, NSFNet had grown to rival ARPANet. We had just been approved to be on ARPAnet when it was turned down. We received the IMP (Interface Message Processor), which was an entire rack full of stuff, but we never took it off the pallet.

    Keep in mind the USENET map was a map of mostly dial-up connections made between computing centers. I once had to answer for a $5000 phone bill between two USENET sites which had a bug which caused the phone lines never to hang up. Here’s a larger usenet map: http://www.intercom.co.cr/internet/research/1983/0407.htm

  3. @J. Peterson — I had completely forgotten about bang-path email routing until you mentioned it. When I was at Lucent, some of the old-timers still had the paths in their .sig (just in case, I suppose). Ah, memories! 🙂

  4. Love it!

  5. These are really awesome, thanks for sharing! Another cool map of Internet infrastructure
    Is the of the underground fibre Cables, truly reveals some interesting geo Oriented insights to the development of the Internet in other continents as well as the flow of information between different areas.

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