Friday, October 07, 2016

The History of Undersea Cables


A new map from Quartz shows the history of undersea cables being built to carry internet traffic around the world.

The map starts in 1990 and shows the original undersea internet cables built in Europe. As the map plays through the timeline you can watch how undersea cables have spread across the globe. The Explosive Growth of Underwater Cables also includes a graph which shows the amount of global internet traffic over this same time period.


The Quartz animated map is based on data from TeleGeography. Every year Telegeography create their own global maps of undersea cables. The 2016 edition of its Submarine Cable Map is an information rich interactive map. The main 2016 map shows 321 undersea cable systems around the world, while a number of smaller inset maps depict some of the world's busiest landing stations.

You might also like TeleGeography's 2015 Submarine Cable Map. The 2015 map was inspired by medieval and renaissance cartography and features some wonderful map border illustrations and even a number of beautifully drawn sea monsters.


If you want to explore the history of global undersea internet cables in more detail you can view Builtvisible's Messages in the Deep interactive map. This Google Map visualizes the history of the growth of the undersea fibre optic network around the world since 1989.

The map allows you to view the undersea cable network for any year, or you can animate the map to view how this global network has grown since 1989. The map also allows you to refine the cables shown by cable owner. You can click on any of the cables displayed on the map to view it's length, it's first year of operation and the cable's owners.
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