The Arduino-Powered Packet Map Puts an Interactive IP Geolocation Map on Your Wall

Sniffing packets in Python and spitting geolocation data to an Arduino, the Packet Map brings clarity to the global nature of the 'net.

The Packet Map updates LEDs under a printed map based on network traffic. (πŸ“·: Dara Emami)

Mechanical engineer Dara Emami has taken to crowdfunding to bring his Packet Map β€” an interactive piece of desk or wall art which lights up areas of the world according to your network traffic β€” to production.

"This map monitors the data coming in and going out of your computer," Emami explains of the project. "Depending on the physical geo-locations of the data, the respective LED on the map will blink. This provides you an easy way to monitor your digital footprint."

"Often people wonder, 'Who am I connecting with on my computer?' This LED map will answer those questions! As you surf the web, watch your world map illuminate based on your data."

Currently in the proof-of-concept prototype stage, the Packet Map is built around an Arduino with USB and Bluetooth connectivity. Software running on a host device sniffs the network traffic going into and out of the machine, and sends geolocation data based on the source and destination IPs to the Packet Map β€” lighting up LEDs underneath a printed 8x10" map of the world.

"The idea for this came out of curiosity. After reading a news article about a robotic vacuum cleaner sending data back to the manufacturer, I saw the need for the Packet Map," Emami notes. "The mission of the Packet Map is to make consumers more aware of their digital footprint and reveal their level of privacy. Not to mention, it is just plain cool!"

The project is now raising funds on Kickstarter, with early bird rewards starting at $85 for Packet Map plus software for generating a weekly report of geolocated packet data.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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