Opening the IXmaps internet mapping platform for collaborative development and use


IXmaps shows that every regular Canadian internet user, even when communicating with their government, bank, lawyer, or other party dealing with sensitive matters, will have some of their personal information pass through the U.S., becoming subject to mass NSA surveillance. Users are now able to map their traceroutes as they are being generated, significantly improving the utility and user experience.


The project resulted in upgrades to the IXmaps traceroute generation capabilities by rebuilding the main traceroute generation module, IXmapsClient. This has significantly improved the ability to capture useful data in the face of routing anomalies. The project also improved the speed of geo-location and improved the site’s database query and display capabilities. In addition, new overlays of information about internet sites of interest to Canadians were developed.

The Faculty of Information demonstrated the value of the IXmaps mapping platform for a variety of purposes —such as personal curiosity and contributing to policy debates over internet infrastructure development, mass surveillance and privacy on-line. 

The individuals involved in this project presented on numerous occasions: at various universities, at the IXP symposium (organized by the Ontario government) in November 2015, and at the transmediale in Berlin, one of the world's foremost media arts festivals.

Over 32,000 unique visitors visited the IX Maps website to view the tool between May 2014 and June 2016.  

Additional Resources

IX Maps website:

“Canada’s Bad Dream” – post in World Policy journal:

Keeping Internet users in the know or in the dark- A report on the data privacy transparency of Canadian Internet Carriers [PDF]:

Law, Privacy, and Surveillance in Canada in the Post-Snowden Era:

  • Organization

    Governing Council of the University of Toronto (Faculty of Information)

  • Project Type

    Online Services

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  • Province or Territory


  • Geographic Reach