GeoTel, a company that produces telecommunications infrastructure data, recently teamed up with Fortune magazine writer Andrew Blum and graphic designer Nicolas Rapp to creating a fascinating map of the internet’s basic infrastructure. That infrastructure includes thousands of miles of fiber optic cables that cross ocean floors, as well as various stations, hubs, and cables on land.
There's a lot of hardware behind "weightless and invisible" electronic data. Still, the amount of resources tied up in delivering benefits electronically is a fraction of what it might have been without the internet. In other words, internet technology has enabled much more benefit - everything from education to life-saving scientific discoveries - to be delivered to many more people using far fewer resources.