Visualization of the Week: Rise of the deleted city

The GeoCities archive comes back in a new form.

Originally founded in 1994, GeoCities was an early website building and hosting service, wherein people could build their digital home(pages) within certain “cities.” By the late 1990s, GeoCities had become one of the most popular and most trafficked sites on the Internet. Acquired by Yahoo in 1999 for $3.5 billion, Geocities was shut down 10 years later.

The Internet Archive worked to preserve a historical record of GeoCities before the site went offline, and it released a 650GB BitTorrent file of the site’s archive on the one-year anniversary of the site’s closure.

That file is, according to a new visualization called The Deleted City, a “digital Pompeii.” The Deleted City visualization depicts GeoCities on a map, using the service’s own neighborhood metaphor to highlight the way in which the websites (“homesteads”) were organized. The size of the “lots” and locations demonstrates the different sizes of the various neighborhoods. As the viewer browses, the MIDI files from neighboring locations are played.

Unfortunately, The Deleted City is only available as a video. There’s no way to interact with the visualization (that means no searching the map for your former home).

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This post is part of an ongoing series exploring visualizations. We’re always looking for leads, so please drop a line if there’s a visualization you think we should know about.

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