We have been busy collecting various “visions” of the mediascape lately, as we are just now starting to imagine how our own vision might take shape. There is no shortage of attempts to capture the complexity of the web in simplified visual form, and this brief round-up will of course be incomplete. Please add your own in the comments section.
First off, one of the best early attempts at envisioning the web was done by Dubberly Design Office in 1995.
As they describe it:
The top half of the diagram is a concept map describing design. The long horizontal box defines design by linking major concepts in hierarchies. The bottom half of the diagram is a concept map describing the internet. The vertical box defines the Internet, and the horizontal box places it within a context that also includes people, computers, and information.
If you are interested in seeing the actual infrastructure of the Internet, you might find the work of Bill Cheswick and Ben Worthen. In 2006 Ben posted this image to his blog:
a map of just about every router on the North American backbone, (there are 134,855 of them for those who are counting). The colors represent who each router is registered to. Red is Verizon; blue AT&T; yellow Qwest; green is major backbone players like Level 3 and Sprint Nextel; black is the entire cable industry put together; and gray is everyone else, from small telecommunications companies to large international players who only have a small presence in the U.S. If you click on the map it will take you to much bigger version complete with labels that tell you the address of many of the routers.
There are several visions that borrow from other common organizational visualizations. One of my favorites is Wellington Grey’s Periodic Table of the Internet. Another great one that is just recently released is the Web Trend map using the metaphor of a subway map.
Okay … class is about to start, so I have to run.
A few final notes: For a great source for images of Web 2.0 check out those by Dion Hinchcliffe. There are also some really interesting “live” visualizations. Twittervision & Flickrvision are well known, and Digg labs is doing some fantastic work. If you are interested in great visualizations, make sure you grab the RSS feed from the infosthetics blog.
For many more visualizations (still being added) check out our Diigo group (tag:mediascape).