Posted in design, random

The Facebook World Map with Countries Overlaid

By now, I’m sure you’re all familiar with the awesome map that Facebook intern Paul Butler made. Here’s a snapshot & link to the original post (definitely worth the read):

Friendships visualization

What was amazing to me was how connections (“friendships”) are location-dependant, or more specifically country-dependant.

What I really wanted to see were the actual outlines of countries on the map.

After an hour or so, here is what i had. (Click the map for the larger version, so you can actually see the countries in 1920 × 1200)
Facebook World Map with Countries Overlayed

Things I noticed:

    us canada border
  • The line between US & Canada is very visible east of Vancouver and West of the Great Lakes. It seems like there are not many connections there
  • The mexico/US border is not as distinct as the CAD/US border.. that could be pure population though
  • russia & china
  • Russia & China are almost non-existent. Mark has talked about this a lot, how they are the final two countries Facebook has failed to assimilate. Russia has their own Facebook clone that has taken off.
  • CUBA!! actually seems to have a small resistance using FB in the north west, but the rest is virtually non-exsistent
  • The immediate drop off of facebook users (& connections) after Eastern Europe is crazy…
  • The distinction between North & South Korea is amazing
  • I was surprised to find it looks that more people are “connected” in Edmonton (north) rather than Calgary (South) in Alberta. Since I am from Calgary, and it’s a bigger city, that was interesting to me. My friends that went to Edmonton for University did say they loved the friendships they had there better. Where as University of Calgary is much more of a commuting university.
  • Most non-saturated countries begin like Vitenam – with major cities really getting on board, and slowly making connections to their local friends.
  • Conversely, the christmas Islands are unlike most other islands where only major cities have connections. These islands seem to have already started to get saturated!
  • Europe really does have a lot of people really close to each other… its crazy
  • You can really see the cities/countries in Africa that are using facebook: Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, a bit in Ghana…
  • Thoughts? I’d love to hear them in the comments below. I’m working on a follow-up post (or I may just update this one) explaining how I did it.

    There’s also a great conversation going on Hacker News

    – I did not make this map so please don’t sue me. Paul Butler, a facebook intern did, and the links are noted in the first paragraph. I also did not make the Google Maps – google did. You can get the google maps here and the Facebook Map is here:



Jon Chui (pronounced "chew") has been building iOS/Android apps for the last 7 years, the last 3 working on Google Maps, Inbox by Gmail and Google's Search App. Though he grew up in a Christian family and to parents who would end up giving up their 25 years of hard-earned comforts/affluence in Canada to go back to China as missionaries when he was 14, being a Christian was always in his head, and he would constantly struggle with trying to unify the sacred and the secular - until last year. However, through a radical transformation[] @ work last year (which he can't take ANY credit for), he & his wife & 2 young boys have decided to leave Google, sell/donate everything they have so to serve the poor & marginalized with Jesus’ love as missionaries with's Family DTS in Kona, hawaii then to the Philippines. Read more about their family journey @, and reach out to him @ If you're a recruiter with freelance jobs or have tech projects for jon feel free to reach out to him -

10 thoughts on “The Facebook World Map with Countries Overlaid

  1. Awesome… a few things I was able to tell from the original map that would have been clearer if you’d included some missing landmasses:

    Greenland, Iceland and Svalbard are missing, in particular.

    Iceland in particular is sort of obvious, Reykjavik to the lower left, Akureryi (I’d guess) to the upper right. Most of Iceland’s people live in the Reykjavik metro area, Akureryi is the next largest town at less than a tenth the size.

    Most of Greenland’s traffic is along the west coast, which is consistent with the population there, much of East Greenland is a national park.

    1. Hey Joe!

      Great points – the first thing i saw when he had the map was “how cool would it be if I could see the countries”. Instead of waiting for someone else to take a stab I thought i’d do it myself!

  2. Thank’s Jon for your good work in overlaying Butler’s Map with the physical map representing countries, I am very impressed by what your Map says about the connections in Kenya and how all those connections are centred on Nairobi our Capital City. The map is good for us/people running on-line advertisement agencies in Kenya events east africa because we can actually point our clients to this unbiased images showing the raw data of FB connected users a global scale and show them why it is an excellent idea for them to market themselves on Facebook, good job Jon.

    1. Hey Marcel! Thanks for the thanks! 😉

      It actually took me much more time – glad it’s helping your company. Just make sure you’re not spamming people unnecessary .That’s not cool

  3. I not really sure what the map shows. Is this the connection of the different users on Facebook from the specific locations representing their cities?

    Best Regards.

    1. Yeah – each line represents a connection a user has with another user. It’s just interesting you can actually see outlines of countries, since these connections are virtual connections.

  4. Notice the distinction between Hong Kong and China – Hong Kong is formally a part of China, but has acces to Facebook contrary to China. It’s one of the things that shows how Hong Kong is still staying independant from China in a number of ways.

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