Submarine cable maps: 1901 v. 2009

This is what the world's submarine cable system looked like in 1901, according to the Eastern Telegraph Company.
This is what it looks like now. [Image via Telegeography]

About Lisa Katayama

I'm a contributing editor here at Boing Boing. I also have a blog (TokyoMango), a book (Urawaza), and I freelance for Wired, Make, the NY Times Magazine, PRI's Studio360, etc. I'm @tokyomango on Twitter.
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15 Responses to Submarine cable maps: 1901 v. 2009

  1. killdeer says:

    Nice thumbnails you got there (insert goofy.jpg)

  2. drtwist says:

    the first transoceanic cable was layed in 1866!
    John Steele Gordon has a good book on the story of the first transoceanic cable called “A Thread Across the Ocean: The Heroic Story of the Transatlantic Cable” that’s a fun, quick read.

  3. NoahApples says:

    I had no idea that there were that many submarine cables already by 1901!

  4. desiredusername says:

    All the links are to maps that are too tiny.

  5. MooseDesign says:

    Thank goodness the new map designer had the good sense to make it Amerocentric!

  6. ZoopyFunk says:

    These images are fascinating, especially that there was an undersea cable from N. America to Australia in 1909! Crazy. Is it national cable day, or are you all restricting yourselves to(nearly) one topic per day now?

  7. RyanH says:

    Amerocentric actually makes sense in this case. There are very few undersea cables running between, say, Russia and England or China and France. So it makes sense to split the map in the middle of Asia/Europe.

  8. Agies says:

    @2 They are doing pereodic theme days.

  9. Trilby says:

    @6 Well, in the old map it’s definitely centred on England, because that’s where all the cable came from; it was designed to connect the Empire. And the first transatlantic cable was laid by one of Brunel’s ships, I think.

  10. Anonymous says:

    @tzed Great article, but it’s Neal Stephenson

  11. zackly76 says:

    A close friend of the family is the captain for a cable-laying and repair ship. They go out and repair and put down the fiber optic lines. The ship is really cool – big reels of thin fiber and the whole massive ship is controlled with a freaking joystick.
    a cool thing to visit, for sure.

  12. Anonymous says:

    wow, they’re a lot straighter now.

  13. tzed says:

    Bruce Sterling wrote a novella-length history of undersea cable for WIRED magazine in December ’96.

  14. Otter says:

    @11–Neal Stephenson, you mean. It was that article that made me a devoted fan. I still have the issue of Wired around somewhere.

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