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12 July 2012

The Underwater Internet

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What is this?  A map of popular airline flights? Bird migration?  Solo yacht races?
It's a map of internet cables under the ocean.  Nicolas Rapp explains it like this in a blog post:

"If the internet is a global phenomenon, it’s because there are fiber-optic cables underneath the ocean. Light goes in on one shore and comes out the other, making these tubes the fundamental conduit of information throughout the global village. To make the light travel enormous distances, thousands of volts of electricity are sent through the cable’s copper sleeve to power repeaters, each the size and roughly the shape of a 600-pound bluefin tuna.Once a cable reaches a coast, it enters a building known as a “landing station” that receives and transmits the flashes of light sent across the water. The fiber-optic lines then connect to key hubs, known as “Internet exchange points,” which, for the most part, follow geography and population."


Click through and read the rest of his blog post to find out what happens when the cables reach a coast line.

Thanks to Flowing Data for the link.

Quizz for ISOCS students:  What map projection is shown here? Click here for the answer.

Read more about undersea Internet cables at this page.