Mapbox and Ookla launched the Ookla for Good Global Network Performance map this week, allowing the researchers, policymakers, journalists, and the general public unprecedented access to global broadband performance data to enable better decision making. The map leverages the partnership between Mapbox and Ookla to combine Ookla Open Datasets with the scalable processing power of Mapbox Tiling Service (MTS) and the dynamic map rendering capability of GLJS v2.
Ookla for Good is focused on making the internet better, faster, and more accessible for everyone. This means increasing transparency and accountability for telecommunications service providers and policymakers.
Instant communication has created a smaller, more connected world and increased economic opportunity - but only for those with access to a reliable internet connection. Even in 2021, there are many around the world who lack a reliable internet connection or access at all. Around 18.2 million U.S. households in both rural and urban communities lack reliable broadband access. This gap in access is known as the ‘digital divide’ and it represents an ever-growing disparity in access to digital resources for businesses, communities, schools, and individuals. COVID-19 amplified the impact of this divide, making it impossible for students with insufficient internet access to participate in remote learning, contributing to an education gap that could last for a generation.
To address the divide, it’s essential to understand where access is lacking. Last year, the Ookla for Good team created and published an open dataset derived from hundreds of millions of Speedtest® results. Their open datasets for global fixed and mobile network performance are being used worldwide by NGOs, non-profits, academia, and individuals to shine a light on areas that lack adequate internet access. The data allowed researchers at the World Bank to study the network impact of COVID-19 lockdowns in Africa. But until now, working with the data required a knowledge of data engineering technology - a high barrier to entry.
Mapbox and Ookla worked together to process and visualize this data using MTS, Studio, and GLJS v2 to create the Global Network Performance Map and make the data instantly accessible to everyone. MTS is able to process the massive global dataset in under 10 minutes and the pipeline is reusable so the regular updates that Ookla makes will allow decision-makers to monitor the impact their initiatives have on network performance. GLJS’s programmable interactivity and its high performance allows users to explore quickly and discover insights and patterns. Studio gave Ookla the ability to quickly experiment with different designs to create the most useful and impactful visualization.
The result is a high performance map that gives decision makers - and those holding them accountable - an unprecedented picture of what up-to-date performance looks like worldwide.
In an upcoming series of posts, the Ookla for Good team will share how they built the map with details about processing the data with MTS and designing usable visualizations with Studio.
Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to learn more about the dataset or partner with their team.