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The word Opte originated from the Latin word opti, meaning "optical". The name originated from the project creator Barrett Lyon and the fluid nature of the name opte.org made it stick.
The project was started in October 2003 in an effort to provide a useful Internet map with open source code. Lyon believes that the network mapping can help teach students more about the Internet. It can also be used to visualize sites of disasters in the world, citing the significant destruction of Internet capabilities after a disaster. Additionally it can be used as a gauge for the growth of the Internet and the areas of growth.
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