30 DaysPosted: April 6, 2011
’30 Days’ by Rosamund Garrett, Adobe Illustrator
30 Days is a representation of Internet traffic from all of the cities that visited the Virtually Nao website over a period of one month. People from the named locations have logged on to the site, but where you can see a change in direction is the route that Internet data would take between the viewer and the location that I am writing from, which is Edinburgh. So if you are a return visitor to my website you could well be within this drawing, and it shows our connection to each other.
This information was gathered by performing a lot of trace routes. To see what a trace route is, see the Call for Volunteers page. I know that most artists don’t reveal how they make things, but I think that the process for this one was pretty interesting so here goes…
First of all I logged on to Clicky, which is the app I use for my website analytics. Clicky can tell me things like the names of the cities my visitors are from and crucially their IP addresses (each visitor has their own IP address). I made a list of the cities over a 30 day period and chose one IP address from each. Frequently more than one person from each city had logged on to the site but I wanted to keep it simple so I chose to represent one route per city. I then performed a trace route to each of the IP addresses in turn, saving all the details. To see exactly how to perform a trace route click here. When you get the results from a trace route it has the number of jumps between locations, the time it took to do the jump and an IP address so you can find the location of each jump. For each city I went through the trace route plotting the jumps on a map. I did this by using Info Sniper. Info Sniper lets you type in an IP address and shows you where it is on a map, and helpfully it also gives you the co-ordinates of the location. I then typed these co-ordinates into Google Maps so I could get a better look, and then plotted it on my own map. Below you can see my original drawing of the data.
Having acquired the raw information I thought I should probably do something a bit more visually interesting, but nothing too over complicated. I wanted the finished image to have a drawing-like quality, rather than diagrammatic. It was also my intention to convey speed, dynamism and spatial qualities. Everything that you can see, apart from the actual acquisition of the data, was created using Adobe Illustrator. So there you have it, the process behind ’30 Days’.