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Start Planning for Fall Now With This Interactive Foliage Map

The official end of summer isn't until late September, but it’s never too early to get excited for foliage season. To see when the leaves outside your window will be at their most brilliant, check out this map for the 2017 season from SmokyMountains.com.

The tourism website put together the interactive visual by pulling historical weather data and forecasts for the upcoming months from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. By using the slider at the bottom of the map, you can see when fall foliage is expected to peak across the contiguous United States.

On August 27, for example, most of the country is rendered in green, which means the leaves will not have started to change yet. Move into mid-September and the northern and central states show up with blotches of fall colors, with the lightest shade of yellow indicating minimal leaf change and deep red signaling peak foliage. By late October, most of the U.S. is brown, which means the leaves have passed their peak.

While the leaves of deciduous trees start to change hues at roughly the same time each year, the exact patterns vary based on factors like rain and temperature. Because the summer has been especially wet for much of the country, the trees are expected to transition sooner in the year.

"Due to the heavier precipitation throughout the summer months, this year's leaf model is predicting an earlier-than-typical peak fall,” data scientist and the map's creator Wes Melton said. The year will also continue to be warmer than average according to current projections, which means that leaf-gazers will be treated to a long-lasting display. "Other than the Pacific Northwest, we are expecting warmer-than-average fall temperatures during the September through November time period. These warmer temperatures are expected to prolong the color season,” Melton said.

Now that you know when exactly the trees will hit their peak, you need to make sure you’re around to see them. Here are some of the best spots in the U.S. to take in the seasonal show.

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CityWood, Kickstarter
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Art
Laser-Cut Wood Maps Showcase World Cities
CityWood, Kickstarter
CityWood, Kickstarter

You can already express your love for your local geography with a chocolate map or a custom-designed poster. The latest material for immortalizing your home city is laser-cut wood. As Curbed reports, CityWood is a line of striking, minimalist maps currently raising funds on Kickstarter. (The campaign has blown past its original $3000 goal by raising more than $73,000 so far—and counting.)

CityWood offers maps of nearly 100 cities, including New York, Los Angeles, London, and Tokyo. The waterways and city streets of each location are engraved into high-quality plywood using a laser cutter. The map is then put together by hand, and packaged inside a wood frame behind plexiglass.

Customers have their choice of sizes, from a small 5-inch-by-7-inch map for their desk to a 36-inch-by-36-inch display for their wall. Prices range from $29 to $439.

To preorder a CityWood map of your own, you can pledge to the product’s Kickstarter before the campaign ends on February 16. CityWood is also accepting votes on new cities to add to its lineup.

Wooden maps of various sizes.
CityWood, Kickstarter

Wooden map of city.
CityWood, Kickstarter

Wooden map on wall with chair.
CityWood, Kickstarter

[h/t Curbed]

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Douglas Grundy, Three Lions/Getty Images
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geography
This 1940 Film on Road Maps Will Make You Appreciate Map Apps Like Never Before
Douglas Grundy, Three Lions/Getty Images
Douglas Grundy, Three Lions/Getty Images

In the modern era, we take for granted having constantly updated, largely accurate maps of just about every road in the world at our fingertips. If you need to find your way through a city or across a country, Google Maps has your back. You no longer have to go out and buy a paper map.

But to appreciate just what a monstrous task making road maps and keeping them updated was in decades past, take a look at this vintage short film, "Caught Mapping," spotted at the Internet Archive by National Geographic.

The 1940 film, produced by the educational and promotional company Jam Handy Organization (which created films for corporations like Chevrolet), spotlights the difficult task of producing and revising maps to keep up with new road construction and repair.

The film is a major booster of the mapmaking industry, and those involved in it come off as near-miracle workers. The process of updating maps involved sending scouts out into the field to drive along every road and note conditions, compare the roads against topographical maps, and confirm mileage figures. Then, those scouts reported back to the draughtsmen responsible for producing revised maps every two weeks. The draughtsmen updated the data on road closures and other changes.

Once those maps were printed, they were "ready to give folks a good steer," as the film's narrator puts it, quietly determining the success of any road trip in the country.

"Presto! and right at their fingertips, modern motorists can have [information] on any road they wish to take." A modern marvel, really.

[h/t National Geographic]

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