Sourcemap: Slick App for Tracking the Supply Chain for Your Laptop (or Tuna or Nutella)

By Sarah Zhang
May 3, 2012 5:14 PMNov 20, 2019 12:36 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

If you've ever wondered where all the parts in your laptop came from, take a second to look at this map

---or maybe a few minutes, because it is a dense, complicated web. Sourcemap

, which has its origins in MIT Media Lab, is a new open source website for mapping global supply chains and carbon footprints. There are also Sourcemaps for Chicken of the Sea's tuna

 and Nutella

among others. Although the site seems to have been conceived as a way of keeping track of modern corporations, some of the most intriguing maps are historical ones. Take this supply chain for Western Electric's candlestick telephones from 1927

 or this overview of international trade in 19th century London

. The beauty of open source projects is that they can go off in unexpected and delightful directions. But as Ariel Schwartz at Fast Company has pointed out

, Sourcemap also suffers from that plague of open source sites, quality control. Go to the browse

tab, and you'll immediately be finding yourself among maps titled "Test 123," "farting robot," or "My stuff." Hopefully, Sourcemap will come up with way of rating and verifying the quality of maps, so that the cream rises to the top. Meanwhile, watch a demo of the interactive maps below or head over to Sourcemap

to play (and create) maps yourself.

Image via Sourcemap

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2024 Kalmbach Media Co.