Friday, November 18, 2022

The Map of the Fediverse

Following Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter the open-sourced social networking service Mastodon has seen a huge growth in users. One way in which Mastodon differs from Twitter is that it operates as a federated network, on a large number of independently run instances. These separate instances are connected by the Fediverse (a collection of connected servers that are used for social-networking and micro-blogging) which allow the independetly run instances to communicate with each other.

Many instances of Mastodon have been created for specific subjects or fields. For example Maps Mania can be found on Mastodon on, which is an instance of Mastodon created for 'GIS, mapping, geospatial and cartography professionals and enthusiasts'. Some Mastodon instances have also been created for specific locations, to serve local or even national communities. 

If you want to find a Mastodon instance that serves your city, region or country then you can explore the Mastodon Near Me interactive map. This map shows Mastodon servers which serve a specific geographical area and which are open to new members who wish to join Mastodon.

You can also find a fediverse server by location on the Fediverse Observer. This interactive map shows where the servers of Mastodon instances are physically located. The instances shown on this map are not necessarily designed to serve people from a particular geographic region, it just happens to be where they are located. For example although I live in the UK I belong to an instance,, whose server is physically located in France.

You can also explore the fediverse on is less of a map and more of a network chart of Mastodon instances. It looks at the connections between instances to create a network chart which visualizes the interconnected relationships between the different Mastodon communities. 

For example if I search for on the map I find that its nearest neighbors are (an instance for OpenStreetMap editors and users), (a Mastodon instance for members of the data viz community) and (the Mastodon social network for social scientists). 

Etienne Côme, a researcher at Université Gustave Eiffel, has also created an interactive network chart of the fediverse. Etienne says that one of the first things he noted about Mastodon was "how much more 'geographical' the fediverse is than other social networks". He therefore decided to map around 2,000 instances in his Mapstodon visualization of the Mastodon fediverse.

In this network mapping of the fediverse individual instances are organized based on the connections between instances as expressed in public toots made in each instance. There is a little more detail of how the visualization was made in this toot thread.

You can follow Maps Mania on Mastodon at

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