After my posts on visualizing Rotterdam port’s imports/exports and on Internet traffic maps, I have started to experiment with showing the export quantities and destinations for a certain trade good.

I wanted to do a Saudia-Arabia or Irak oil export Sankey map, but couldn’t find good data. I finally came across this summary on Lybian oil exports, and converted the data from the pie chart Lybian Oil Exports, by Destination, 2006 to a Sankey style export flow diagram.

It was new to me that “Libya has the largest proven oil reserves in Africa” with 41.5 billion barrels, and estimated net exports of 1.525 million barrels per day in 2006.

The underlying map is a crop from a World map found on Wikicommons. I think it could be a little more transparent though…

The cutting of two submarine internet cables in the Mediterranean Sea at the end of January, and another one in the Persian Gulf a few days later, was widely reported in the news. The cuts affected internet services and call center operations in large parts of the Middle East and India, sparking discussions about emergency backup plans for offshore software development.

This reminded me of the internet traffic maps I had seen on the Web before. These are available as traffic load maps as well as bandwidth capacity maps of the backbone infrastructure.

Indeed these maps can be considered as fine examples of Sankey diagrams, with bi-directional (or non-directional?) arrows whose magnitude represent the bandwidth of the transcontinental internet cables. Additional arrow colors could be used, for example, to represent ownership or operation of the cable by different companies.

At the same time the Sankey maps may also serve to indicate communication technology development in different world regions.

BTW, if you want to stick one of these maps prominently on your office wall, they are available as posters here.