How do you see the Internet?

“How to you see the Internet” is how Ingrid Burrington’s Networks of New York begins.

My answer to this question is: with a map.

The National Broadband Internet Service Availability Map confirms that in these parts, you can only get your cable from Cogeco.

If you scroll down the left sidebar, it will tell you that in these parts you can get your fibre from MNSI and Bell Canada. Bell makes you enter your address and will confirm if your dwelling is fibre ready. MNSI coveys the same information but using a map. If your pushpin lands in green, you are good to go.

Cell phone coverage is also available in map form. It never occurred to me that the cell phone towers would hug Highway 401 so closely until I noticed it on this map.

It appears that the raw information of these cell phone tower maps is provided by Industry Canada. I particularly liked this map made from the data for its simplicity.

These are maps of internet coverage. We can also work backwards.

The Mozilla Location Service (MLS) is an open service, which lets devices determine their location based on network infrastructure like Bluetooth beacons, cell towers and WiFi access points. This network based location service complements satellite based navigation systems like A-GPS.

If I’m not mistaken, we interact with this service whenever we make use of the HTML5 geolocation web api. “This will give you the best position estimate for the users device, based on all available sensors (including GPS) and all location services supported by their device”.