You almost certainly use it every day, but until now nobody has really known what the internet actually looks like.
However, Fortune magazine and graphic designer Nicolas Rapp teamed up with telecom data and infrastructure company GeoTel Communications.
The company maps fiber optic cables and geographic information systems (GIS) that connect people all over the world, which were used to create the stunning image below.
It shows the key locations for fiber optic cables, the high speed connections that form the backbone of the internet.
What the Internet really looks like: Each yellow line is one of the major fiber-optic cables that carry Internet traffic around the world. These are the ‘plumbing’ of the internet, and many are routed undersea.
It also reveals that much of the online world is actually underwater, and under the world’s largest oceans.
These cables transfer data in the form of light to and from power repeaters in major cities — such as Hong Kong and New York — in a matter of milliseconds.
Fiber optic cables that form the backbone of the internet
‘If the internet is a global phenomenon, it’s because there are fiber-optic cables underneath the ocean,’ said the designer of the images Nicolas Rapp.
He explained how the cables are used.
‘Light goes in on one shore and comes out the other, making these tubes the fundamental conduit of information throughout the global village,’ he said on his blog.
‘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.
The idea of the maps was to explain how the internet works in an easy to understand manner.
“Most people have no clue what the world’s communication infrastructure looks like,” Dave Drazen of GeoTel told Mashable.
“When they open this [article] up, they’re astonished. You’re actually mapping the Internet right here.”