Mozilla Drumbeat – Map the web

Mozilla Drumbeat initiative is an open project to build a better web. It gathers communities around various projects to discuss technology and the way we will use the web in the future. It is also possible to submit your own project ideas.

But there is one which interests us in particular already, Map the Web:

Map the Web uses art, design and data to map the internet — to help all of us understand the web, how it works and what it means.

The objectives of the project so far, quoted from the project page:

  1. Transform the big, abstract internet into something simple and emotional that busy people can understand by …
  2. Building a community of artists, designers and data nerds passionate about mapping the internet who …
  3. Create tools and maps that help people understand how the internet works and where they fit in.
  4. Over time: use the insights from these maps to generate other kinds of tools and projects that add to users’ experiences of the web.

At Gephi we do believe in the power of maps to tell stories and help users to understand complex, unsorted data. For instance why not use maps for bookmarks? Represented by a network of associated URLs and tags, bookmarks would appear in thematic clusters naturally. Gary Flake showed recently interesting ideas about data visualization use in browser.

Gephi is a desktop Java application, but in the next months our aim is to launch a web canvas project as well. The idea is to lead or participate building a network visualization library standard for the web. Simple enough to be used in various applications, we propose to do this using WebGL. A data visualization library must be efficient and OpenGL is clearly suitable for this task. We had considered starting a Google Summer of Code project this year about that but we finally decided to wait a bit more. WebGL is getting lots of support and development and promise to be the standard, as Google recently dropped O3D. We think this canvas project has many common interests with the ‘Map the Web’ Drumbeat project and therefore naturally propose to help.

Let’s start the discussion and contribute to this project! Who’s joining?


  1. I’m curious whether any work has been done on making a web version of Gephi like was mentioned in this post. Is there a mailinglist where it is being discussed? I’m working on a web-based visualization tool and think that Gephi would make a great addition.


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