As part of the Information Geographies project of the Oxford Internet Institute, Dr. Mark Graham and Stefano de Sabbata have created a map that shows how the world would look if geographic areas were based on online population size. The map (in full below) shows both the absolute number of internet users, shown as geographic area, and the penetration within each country’s overall population, depicted by color, with the darker colors representing a higher penetration. Data is based on 2011 statistics from the World Bank.
In their findings, Graham and Sabbata reveal that Asia is the primary contributor to the world’s online population, with 42 percent coming from the region. The researchers also found that none of the most populous countries in terms of absolute number of internet users fall into the highest category of penetration (>80 percent). In fact, despite being the third largest in terms of quantity of internet users, India falls into the lowest category of penetration, with less than 20 percent of the actual populace online. This, coupled with the fact that only one third of the world’s population is online, shows room for tremendous growth.
According to the site, the Information Geographies project “proposes a comprehensive mapping of contemporary geographies of knowledge,” and includes other maps such as ‘A Geography of Twitter’ and ‘The Distribution of All Wikipedia Articles.’