Daniel Huffman gives us an alternative view on how to look at rivers: Using the analogy of urban transit maps, he achieves a high level of abstraction an thus gives a clear overview over relationships and hierarchies. In the River Transit Maps series, Daniel has created maps of six large river systems like the Columbia, Colorado or Mississippi.
Rivers have been a key part of urban life for centuries. They have provided us with drinking water, protection, and a transit network that links us from one settlement to the next. I wanted to create a series of maps that gives people a new way to look at rivers: a much more modern, urban type of portrayal. So I turned to the style of urban transit maps pioneered by Harry Beck in the 1930s for the London Underground. Straight lines, 45º angles, simple geometry. The geography is intentionally distorted to clarify relationships.
If you want to learn more about the development process behind the maps, Daniel kindly provides some insights in his blog post On River Maps. The maps are available as 18″ x 24″ and 30″ x 40″ prints on Zazzle.
Daniel Huffman is lecturer in cartography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of SomethingAboutMaps as well as the map critique blog, Cartastrophe. See more of his works on his portfolio.