Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Visualizations of IP and phone traffic from New York


MIT researchers are visualizing telecom traffic between New York City and the rest of the world. The project, titled New York Talk Exchange, is part of a the new "Design and the Elastic Mind" exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. The system converts IP and voice data traffic into several animations revealing network flow over time between neighborhoods, international calls between more than 100 cities, and the like. Missing from the project though is a visualization showing the traffic routed through the NSA's headquarters. From MIT News:
Nyteeee "We are interested in visualizing and exploring the connections that New York entertains with the rest of the world, how they change over the course of a day, and how the city's neighborhoods differ from each other by maintaining special and distinct relationships with particular cities and countries," said Kristian Kloeckl, project leader at the senseable city laboratory...

Over the next few months the MIT team hopes to address some important research questions that loom behind the MoMA visualizations: How is the structure of global cities evolving? How could telecommunications data allow us to gain new insights into the dynamics of globalization? How do byte transfers across the globe affect the need for travel and physical displacement, thus suggesting ideas for better sustainability at a global level?

"Our cursory analysis illustrates how telecom data can help us to expand our conception of global cities and their role in the process of globalization," said Ratti. "In the end, the NYTE project reveals as much about the city of New York as it does about its worldwide counterparts, in areas such as business, culture and immigration. In other words, our visualizations demonstrate that in the information age, urban life is as global as it is local."