Shalom Life | March 02, 2014

I'm Online, Therefore I Am

Israeli Designer redefines the world's maps with her 'Atlas of the World Wide Web'

By: Sophie Imas

Published: September 23rd, 2013 in Business » Israel

The invention of the Internet has so strikingly changed our world that it has ushered in a new dawn in history titled "The Age of Information." Having essentially become a virtual world, the Internet has put to question much of our previous perception of society.

Israeli designer Dafna Aizenberg decided to take a look at how the creation of this parallel universe changed the way our world (and society) looks on a map.

For her Atlas of the World Wide Web, Aizenberg used conventions of a traditional geographic atlas, but mapped instead IP servers, cybercrime, search terms, online shopping, social media and Internet connections.

The atlas started out as an idea for her final project at the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Israel. Inspired by her interest for the effect of technology on our daily lives, Aizenberg came face to face with questioning our existence on the Web.

"Right now, nearly the entire world is connected through the Internet. So, I asked myself: if I’m not connected, do I exist?" Aizenberg tells NoCamels.


In order to answer her question, Aizenberg collected data about the Internet, from the Internet. She then chose design techniques that would correctly translate the collected data into a map. For this purpose, Aizenberg used “generative design” – she started out with a basic shape and transformed it accordingly as more and more information was added.

“I looked at the maps as a living creature with multiple states, affected by external changes,” says Aizenberg. The designer created the entire atlas by hand, choosing shapes and patterns that best suited each topic.

I’m online, therefore I am

Besides showing the impact of Internet on our daily lives, Aizenberg’s project also had a more profound significance. “Every map in history reflects the human condition of its time period. Similarly, I wanted to create the most up-to-date map of our time,” says the designer.

As the project progressed and more information was collected, Aizenberg got an insight into our society unlike ever before. She noticed that while some countries were present on every single map, others "didn’t exist." "North Korea was only present on the cybercrime map because their government censors Internet users. Everywhere else, it is non-existent.

This could make you think, ‘Is North Korea part of our world? To what extent?' Aizenberg asks.


The atlas also revealed perhaps unexpected information about our world. The designer discovered that Israel’s population spends the most amount of time on social media networks, while the United States didn’t even make it to the top 10 in that category. On one map, France and Germany looked almost identical and completely different from the rest of the world, blurring the border between the two countries.

The atlas also showed that the most popular search words in various undeveloped countries were in the category of entertainment. “I think one of the most significant aspects of the atlas is that it shows that people who have absolutely nothing in common are maybe the same," Aizenberg tells NoCamels.

Bigger than expected

Following its unveiling, the project received so much attention that the designer created a separate website for her Atlas of the World Wide Web. She is currently in search of a publisher and encourages all those interested in purchasing the book to sign up on her website.


Dafna Aizenberg previously worked as a photographer in the Israeli military, where she discovered her passion for design. She recently finished her four year program in design at the Shenkar College of Design and Engineering. She was guided in her project by Yael Bogan and assisted by Yuval Shukroon. She is currently working at a branding office called "Open."

This story published on No Camels - Israeli Innovation News

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