As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, or in this case, billions of things. John Matherly, Founder of Shodan, recently created a map depicting the location of every single Internet-connected device across the globe. In order to achieve this feat, the creator pinged every device online, then mapped the location of the ones that responded.
Matherly used his search engine, which he developed to identify connected devices, to gather the data. Earlier last month, he sent ping requests out to IP addresses across the globe and recorded those that acknowledged receipt. The map uses various colors to illustrate how many devices are indigenous to an area. The redder the dot, the more the devices. The bluer, the fewer. You’ll also notice that there are several locations lacking any dots. These colorless spaces represent remote areas with no computers or smartphones on a wireless network.
“I would expect certain areas (especially in Africa) to become brighter, but the only way to know for sure is to gather empirical data and keep track of it that way,” Matherly wrote on Reddit.
As anticipated, the United States and Europe depict the highest concentration. You may have noticed that lonesome dot in Greenland… turns out that’s the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration observatory. Additionally, though it may seem like areas of China should be colored bright red on the map, the country’s ‘Great Firewall’ explains why most of the country appears dark. As you can imagine, it’s not exactly a perfect science. “Some organizations block ping requests, so you’re not seeing those computers,” Matherly told Motherboard.
While Matherly’s tweet says the picture shows where every web-enabled device is located, that might be a bit of a stretch. Nevertheless, the image manages to provide the critical mass with a great visualization of Internet traffic spanning the globe. With the proliferation of the Internet of Things over the next couple of years, it’s without question that we’ll begin to see some of those dark holes colorize as more devices become connected. Cities will get smarter. Cars will become connected. Once-ordinary objects will be given new powers.