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The Oceanic Turn Advanced Seminar Harvard GSD ADV 0913200 / Spring 2014 Professor Pierre Belanger Noam Dvir Daniel Rauchwerger


Last February, Brazil and the European Union agreed to lay an undersea communications cable from Lisbon to Fortaleza to reduce Brazil’s reliance on the United States after Washington confirmed it was spying on Brazilia and several other allies in Europe. At a summit in Brussels, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said the $185 million cable project was central to “guarantee the neutrality” of the Internet, signaling her desire to shield Brazil’s Internet traffic from U.S. surveillance. Over 95 per cent of all international communications are routed via submarine fiber-optic cables. Data and voice transfer via these cables is not only cheaper in comparison to satellite communications, but also remarkably faster. More than a million kilometers of cables span the oceans today, connecting continents, islands and countries and providing the infrastructural foundations for the development of the the global economy. The oceans are, quite literally, oceans of information. The first components of this international infrastructure - copper-based telegraph cables - were laid across the Atlantic Ocean and the English Channel in the 1850s, first by private companies and later with the increasing encouragement and the engagement of governments. Throughout the 20th century the submarine cable project generated an interest in mapping particular sections of the ocean floor and contributed to the development of fiber optic technology. Cables became the most prominent element of information warfare, in particular during the two World Wars when governments successfully intercepted communication from foreign cables and and tapped top-secret military commands. In relation to this, cables highlighted the importance of remote islands in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans, as sites of landing stations. Secluded islands like Fanning were acquired by the British Empire to insure a continuous global connection over friendly soil. More recently cables became a lucrative investment for tech-giants like Google, that invested an estimated 50 million US$ in a new cable in the South Pacific ocean. Google also purchased one of the largest office buildings in New York City by virtue of its adjacency to dark fiber (installed but not active) submarine cables. This research looks at submarine cables not only as a set of physical infrastructures but also at the immediate effect they have on geopolitical affairs, coastal real estate, information warfare and economical development.


99% OF THE WORLD’S DATA RUNS THROUGH SUBMARINE CABLES


TYPICAL CROSS SECTION OF A SUBMARINE CABLE

MYLAR TAPE ALUMINUM WATER BARRIER

POLYETHYLENE

PETROLEUM JELLY

OPTICAL FIBERS

STRANDED STEEL WIRES

COPPER / ALUMINUM TUBE

POLYCARBONATE

7 CM

7 CM

ACTUAL SIZE WEIGHT PER METER = 10KG

Typical section of an optic-core cable based on schemes by Lynden Jackson [US Patent and Trademark, 1978]


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Ten most centrally connected hubs of submarine cables

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Ocenas of Information, video-still 1/3


Ocenas of Information, video-still 2/3


Ocenas of Information, video-still 3/3


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The All-Red Line: A telegraph line for an empire where the sun never sets


The “Conquerer of Time”: Astronomer Royal Sir George Airy


Telegraph cables mandated a standartization of time fro the first time in history


International Time-Zone division map


“American Progress�: A painting depicting the Spirit of America laying out a network of telegraph cables.


AT&T advertisement, 1965


Tata / SEACOM

Tata / TGN-Gulf

Tata / TGN-Gulf

Tata / TGN Western Europe

Tata / TGN Atlantic

The Tata-owned cable network

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Tata Trans-Pacific Express

Tata TGN Intra-Asia (TGN-IA)

Tata Indicom (TIISCS)

Tata / TGN Transpacific


A Google-funded cable network in South East Asia

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Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel. Photo: Reuters.


Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Group


Deployment of a submarine cable


Cable landing stations


Buried Segment

Landing Station

Typical section of a landing station and cable structure


Repeaters 100 Mile intervals


DATA IS THE 21ST CENTURY’S NATURAL RESOURCE


ISLANDS ARE THE JUNCTIONS IN ITS NETWORK


NAME: AREA: POP:

Guam 209 Square Miles 159,358

NAME: AREA: POP:

NAME: AREA: POP:

NAME: AREA: POP:

Hawaii 10,931 Square Miles 1,404,054

Fiji 7,056 Square Miles 858,038

Bermuda [UK] 20.6 Square Miles 64,237

NAME: AREA: POP:

British Virgin Islands 47.5 Square Miles 27,500

NAME: AREA: POP:

Curacao [NL] 171.4 Square Miles 152,760

NAME:

Puerto Rico & US Virgin Islands 3,711 Square Miles 3,800,000

AREA: POP:

Strategic Islands of the global cable network

NAME: AREA: POP:

NAME: AREA: POP:

Cape 1,557 531,04

Can 2,89 2,11


Verde Square Miles 46

nary Islands [Spain] 93 Square Miles 17,519

NAME: AREA: POP:

Singapore 276 Square Miles 5,399,200

NAME: AREA: POP:

Reunion [France] 970 Square Miles 840,974

NAME: AREA: POP:

Mauritius 787 Square Miles 1,295,789

NAME: AREA: POP:

NAME: AREA: POP:

Sicily 9,927 Square Miles 5,043,480

Cyprus 3,572 Square Miles 1,117,000


Strategic Islands of the global cable network


Strategic Islands of the global cable network


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CASE STUDY 1: O’HAU

APPROXIMATE POPULATION: LAND AREA: GDP PER CAPITA:

976,500 596.7 SQ. MILES $30 K

HIGHEST POINT ABOVE SEA LEVEL: +1,220 METERS

0.00 sea level line

KAHE POINT

KEAWAULA MAKAHA

SOUTHERN CROSS TPC 5 JAPAN-U.S.


CASE STUDY 1: GUAM

APPROXIMATE POPULATION: LAND AREA: GDP PER CAPITA:

160,000 209 SQ. MILES $15 K

HIGHEST POINT ABOVE SEA LEVEL: +406 METERS

0.00 sea level line

GUAM-PHILLIPPINES CHINA-U.S. AUSTRALIA-JAPAN AUSTRALIA-JAPAN TPC-5 VSNL TGN-PACIFIC

TUNGUISSON POINT TUMON BAY PITI


CASE STUDY 1: VIRGIN ISLANDS

APPROXIMATE POPULATION (US VIRGIN ISLANDS): LAND AREA: GDP PER CAPITA:

106,500 133 SQ. MILES $18,750 K

HIGHEST POINT ABOVE SEA LEVEL: +453 METERS

0.00 sea level line

MIRAMAR

ANTILLAS-1 AMERICAS II

SAN JUAN

SAM-1 GCN

ISLA VERDE

ARCOS SMPR-1


GSD 9132 - The Oceanic Turn - Advanced Research Seminar - Harvard Graduate School of Design - 2014

Designed, printed and bound in North America.


Oceans of Information / Noam Dvir and Daniel Rauchwerger