River Maps

The Map of American Rivers has been out for a while – and this post has been sitting in my drafts – so figured i’d finish it up.  The beauty of the map, created by Nelson Minar, is the isolation of a single elements and it’s expression in the topography of the US.  I think of glaciers cutting through North Dakota, and massive basins such as the Columbia River watershed, and the patterns at nested scales.

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When zoomed in, you get the dendritic, branching structure of watersheds that evokes biology, as mentioned in the Urban Times post:  “The way they scatter in patterns and formations across the country makes it look like a giant lung. Pumping water along its veins, arteries and capillaries, The United States of America moves forward.”

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It evokes for me the book River Horse by William Least-Heat Moon, a chronicle of the impossibility (and success) of crossing the country (ala Lewis & Clark) by boat.  Pick a channel, navigate (if possible) and who knows where one will end up — i’m guessing eventually to the ocean.

 

 

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