Atlas of Cyberspace by Martin Dodge and Rob Kitchin

published by Addison Wesley (ISBN 0201745755)

As the holiday season ends and the day-to-day demands of managing a networked business, an internet presence and the mass of connections that go with it resurface, it might be time to take a step back and take a wider view.
Martin Dodge's and Rob Kitchin's book will not solve your techie problems or enable you to hone a business model, but it will open your eyes to the environment in which you work. This is a book to browse in the same way as you surf. Simply flicking through the pages and taking in the huge number of different representations of the online world gives you a sense of the power of the networks that span the world.
The authors present images from more than 30 years worth of attempts to map the emerging cyberspace. There are information maps, navigation interfaces, maps of conversations, science fiction images and three-dimention models. Accompanied by an accessible commentary, this book opens up more questions than it answers.
What is clear is that mapping information spaces is not easy. The internet was designed to be bombproof, a self-healing organism, and so attempting to pin it down in two or even three dimensions at a particular moment in time is impossible. Even attempting to map the network of possible connections is a Sisyphean task.
The power of this atlas lies in the fact that it foregrounds those possibilities. When so much talk about the internet and networks gets bogged down in old business models, discourses and ways of seeing, Dodge and Kitchin have done us all a service by making it clear that the potential is there. It is just a matter of realising it.