A Traffic Map for the Internet (Internet-Map)

Project Description

A Traffic Map for the Internet is a project that will develop a Internet traffic map to estimate where users and services are in the network, and how they relate.

A traffic map as we envision is important to help researchers understand how peoples’ use of Internet services are effected by Internet events, such as attacks, outages, degraded performance, and newly deployed infrastructure.

Such a traffic map will inform other networking researchers by providing context to interpret measurement results and proposed improvements, ultimately contributing to improving the Internet for everyone. An Internet traffic map will also help regulators, policy makers, and economists assess the societal impact of networking outside computer science.

Decades of network research have studied components related to—but distinct from—a traffic map, including the AS and router-level topologies, IXPs, CDN deployments, and general traffic matrices. ISPs and content providers have their own, high-quality views of their part of the Internet traffic map, but business- and customer-sensitivities prevent public release.

This project’s goal is to provide a sharable, trusted traffic map. This map traffic will be quantified, with estimates of error; broad, with estimates of completeness; and sustainable, with regular updates.

This project proposes to meet this need by:

  1. Measuring a traffic map that identifies which networks host Internet users and where popular services deploy servers for popular services, the paths between users and services, and relative activity levels on those paths. This map must be derived from replicable approaches and open data so it can be shared. Doing so will require developing new techniques.

  2. Evaluating the accuracy of this map by comparing multiple, independent methods, and testing against external information. Comparison against accurate but privileged information will establish confidence in open-source techniques.

  3. Providing regularly-updated maps to the research community and tools that allow others to create their own maps.


The PI for this project is Ethan Katz-Bassett (at Columbia University); John Heidemann is the co-PI at USC. Internet-Map is supported by NSF/CISE as an NSF Core-Medium award CNS-2212480.



  • Thomas Koch, Weifan Jiang, Tao Luo, Petros Gigis, Yunfan Zhang, Kevin Vermeulen, Emile Aben, Matt Calder, Ethan Katz-Bassett, Lefteris Manassakis, Georgios Smaragdakis and Narseo Vallina-Rodriguez 2021. Towards a traffic map of the Internet: Connecting the dots between popular services and users. Proceedings of the ACM Workshop on Hot Topics in Networks (Virtual Event, 2021). [DOI] Details

For related publications, please see the ANT publications web page.


See also the see the ANT distribution web page.


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