Visualizing iBiblio Traffic Redux

Written by Jeff Heard on February 28th, 2010

So I was asked to pull together an artistic infovis to give as a gift for the director of iBiblio’s keynote speech the other day at code4lib and this is what I came up with.  I thought, “Sure, why not?”  iBiblio has approximately 8TB of web-logs stored on our machines from the beginning of time to the present, and I took those and pulled down all the unique IP addresses for each web server.

I broke all these addresses up into subnets and assigned a unique position in a sphere to each subnet.  Longitude is the first octet, mapped from 0,255 to (-180,180)  Latitude is the second octet, mapped from 0,255 to (-90,90), and the radius out from the center is the third octet.  The subnets are visualized by a PovRay blob component or a sphere in the case of more than 10% of active internet subnets have hit the site.  The radius of the sphere or the strength of the static field behind the blob is the number of IP addresses within the subnet that have touched the site.  The results are thus:

Groklaw

Durham Bike Co-op

The final visualization, a poster, is ordered by the number of subnets that have accessed the site over the years (apologies for the size of this one, but I can’t shrink it much more without it being too small to understand.  Click for the full sized pic (31″x17″) @ 300dpi, be warned!

composite66-copy

You’ll notice some color variation in the individual globes.  I scattered three different colored light sources over three-space in POVRay to make for some visual variation in the otherwise dense fields of the visualizations.  If I hadn’t done this, the result would have been that the whole thing would have had a kind of murky gray cast that made individual blobs more difficult to distinguish.  Although the color here is otherwise meaningless, it does give the eye something to separate one bit of the image from another.

Leave a Comment