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Contribute

Contributing to the IXmaps database

IXmaps relies on voluntary contributions of anonymized traceroute data. We invite you to join over 600 other contributors who have helped to grow the database to 178922 traceroutes. The more distinct the originating points, in terms of both city and ISP, and the more varied the destination targets, the better able we are to display interesting internet routings.

Contributing data involves installing traceroute generating software built by the IXmaps development team. It initiates traceroute requests from your location either in batches of pre-selected target sites, or to individual hostnames (like URLs) of your choosing. You can view the traceroutes you and others have contributed via the Explore page.

To ensure the anonymity of contributors, we do not store the IP address of your personal device, but only a truncated version, with the last quad zeroed out. eg. 123.456.781.0.

For more details on the IXmapsClient software, check out our GitHub repo.


Installing and running the software

IXmapsClient works on Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows. As of December 7, 2015 IXmaps has moved to using IXmapsClient instead of TRgen to collect routing information. The Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux versions of TRgen are deprecated. We currently do not offer IXmapsClient for Android, iOS, or Windows Phone.

Windows

(This version of the software runs on Windows 64 bit architecture, and has been tested on Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10)
  • 1. Download the IXmapsClient installer IXmapsClient.1.0.6.win64.exe
  • 2. Double click on IXmapsClient.1.0.6.win64.exe and install the application in the directory C:\IXmapsClient
  • 3. Copy the IXmapsClient-Shortcut to your Desktop
  • 4. In order to allow the IXmapsClient to run properly, you may need to authorize Windows Firewall to allow inbound connections. For a detailed guide on how to change these settings, see section on Changing Windows Firewall Settings
  • 5. Double click on IXmapsClient-Shortcut to launch
IXmapsClient needs to be executed in a terminal with administrator's privileges. For this reason, when double clicking IXmapsClient-Shortcut, a new terminal window will be opened asking permission to run the application as an administrator; enter your admin password to proceed. The IXmapsClient interface should appear in your browser, or use your browser to go http://localhost:2040/.

Changing Windows Firewall Settings

In order to allow the IXmapsClient to collect traceroute data, Windows users may have to change the configuration of the Windows Firewall, which by default prevents the PC from receiving inbound connections. To change these default settings follow these steps:

  • 1. In Control Panel, open the Windows Firewall application and click on Advance Settings
  • 2. Click on Windows Firewall Properties
  • 3. Click on the tab Private Profile and in the section Inbound Connections, select the option Allow from the dropdown menu
  • 4. Click on the tab Public Profile and in the section Inbound Connections, select the option Allow from the dropdown menu
  • 5. Finally, click the button Apply and close the Windows Firewall
  • More detailed instructions are available here
  • Note: We advise that you reset your default firewall settings once you have completed traceroute collection.
Removing IXmapsClient
  • 1. Delete the C:\IXmapsClient directory
  • 2. Delete the IXmapsClient-Shortcut from your Desktop
  • This will completely remove the IXmapsClient from your computer.

Mac OSX

Depending on your Security & Privacy settings, OS X may disallow installation of the IXmapsClient. This is part of OS X called “Gatekeeper.” To adjust these settings please open Apple menu > System Preferences… > Security & Privacy > General tab and under the header "Allow applications downloaded from" select Anywhere.

IXmapsClient needs to be executed in a terminal with administrator's privileges. For this reason, when double clicking IXmapsClient.app, a new terminal window will be opened asking for the administrator's password; enter your admin password to proceed. The IXmapsClient interface should then be shown in a new browser window, or use your browser to go http://localhost:2040/.

Removing IXmapsClient

Move the IXmapsClient.app application from your Applications folder to the Trash. This will completely remove the IXmaps Client from your computer


Linux

  • 1. Download the IXmapsClient installer IXmapsClient.1.0.6.linux.tar.gz
  • 2. Extract the contents of the file IXmapsClient.1.0.6.linux.tar.gz, e.g. by running the following command in a terminal window: tar xzvf IXmapsClient.1.0.6.linux.tar.gz
  • 3. Drag the IXmapsClient.app application to your Applications folder
  • 4. Double click on IXmapsClient.app to launch

IXmapsClient needs to be executed in a terminal with administrator's privileges. For this reason, when double clicking IXmapsClient.app, a new terminal window will be opened asking for the administrator's password; enter your admin password to proceed. The IXmapsClient interface should then be shown in a new browser window, or use your browser to go http://localhost:2040/.

Removing IXmapsClient

Delete the IXmapsClient folder. In a Linux terminal window, navigate to the directory where IXmapsClient resides, then you run the following command: rm -r IXmapsClient This will completely remove the IXmapsClient from your computer.


Other welcome contributions

Correcting the location of routers

Accurately assessing the geographic location of individual routers within a traceroute is challenging. When examining traceroutes displayed on the Explore page, you may find that some routers appear out of place, sometimes even wildly. We invite you to use the Flag option to point these out and suggest more accurate locations for the IP addresses of such routers so that we can correct it later. This can be done by clicking on the routers (dots) or hops (lines), and then the appropriate Flag button. Any information you provide about why you think the router location is inaccurate, and where it is more likely to be, is helpful in making corrections. See our FAQ page for more on geolocation.

Improving our software

While we do our best to ensure that our software operates reliably and safely, and is easy to use, this is not a polished, high-end application, but rather the latest product of a on-going, unevenly funded research project. If you encounter difficulties or see obvious areas for improvement, please be patient and let us know what needs to be improved. Or better, if you have the skills, make the improvements yourself! The code used for gathering traceroutes, as well as the code for the website and various related components, is free and open source, and available from our GitHub repositories.

We welcome all feedback (critical and appreciative), technical inquiries or offers for assistance regarding IXmaps software, database, or website. Please email the IXmaps team.