It is amazing (and somehow chilling) to me that the information I am seeing on my screen is often sent to me from another continent, along the myriad ups and downs of the dark surface of a seafloor, in the blink of an eye.
While it is easy to think of digital information as purely ephemeral photons beamed directly to a device from some orbiting mirror, the reality is that most traffic I consume came to me by crawling through a lattice of actual physical cables that hosts of humans have gone to great lengths to un-spool. Cables that span enormous dark chasms, cross the expanding seem of migrating continents, get chewed on by sharks, and occasionally get caught up in dredges and trawlers.
Here is a look at a handful of new or under-construction undersea cable projects, spanning much of the world.
Click to embiggen…
I’ve been very impressed by the the early mid-century modern style work from KHUAN+KTRON, with highly-grained, gradient-rich elements. So I wanted to try something like that.
While this think didn’t turn out very mid-century (I don’t think glowing dots are very mid-century, but, I can’t help myself), I am happy with the touchable graniness and the sense of depth that the gradients provide. The color scheme was created using PhotoChrome.io #ocean. The title is a throwback to The Abyss, one of the best movies ever.
This cross-section view with a paired map isn’t new. Nothing is. Check out this beautiful work of an 1858 trans-Atlantic cable:
The maps and depth profiles were created in ArcMap. The bathymetric data comes from a “TopoBathy” data service in the Living Atlas. Submarine cables were selected from Greg’s Cable Map. The color scheme was created using PhotoChrome.io #ocean.
Happy mapping! John