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The Stream Systems of the U.S. Visualized As Subway Maps

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Before the 20th century, one of the easiest ways to get around was on the water. People took steamboats and ferries up, down, and across rivers as their normal mode of transportation. Rivers were the transit lines of an era in which transferring could mean hopping on a horse-drawn streetcar. 

Inspired by Harry Beck’s designs for London Underground transit maps of the 1930s, cartographer Daniel Huffman created a series of maps that imagines what America’s river systems would look like as subway lines. 

His river transit maps give waterways an urban aesthetic, emphasizing the relationships between different rivers. Like most subway maps, they’re not necessarily geographically accurate. All the rivers run in straight lines with neat intersections, without any messy tributaries to clutter the map. The result is, purposely, a far cry from what America’s waterways actually look like. “The geography is intentionally distorted to clarify relationships. I think it helps translate the sort of visual language of nature into a more engineered one, putting the organic in more constructed terms,” Huffman writes

After all, rivers are engineered, too—not entirely unlike how we’ve engineered the routes of our subways. We build locks, dams, and canals to facilitate transportation and control water use, and divert the flow of water to protect cities from flooding. In the 1930s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers turned the Los Angeles River into a concrete channel, guiding it into a consistent path. In Chicago, engineers reversed the flow of the city river to divert contaminated water away from Lake Michigan. Other cities force their rivers underground

These neat, visual networks of water as transportation lines help emphasize how interconnected all of our water sources are, even for those who have never traveled up and down those rivers. See the rest of Huffman’s maps on his blog

[h/t: Citylab]

All images courtesy Daniel Huffman.

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Land Cover CCI, ESA
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Afternoon Map
European Space Agency Releases First High-Res Land Cover Map of Africa
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Land Cover CCI, ESA

This isn’t just any image of Africa. It represents the first of its kind: a high-resolution map of the different types of land cover that are found on the continent, released by The European Space Agency, as Travel + Leisure reports.

Land cover maps depict the different physical materials that cover the Earth, whether that material is vegetation, wetlands, concrete, or sand. They can be used to track the growth of cities, assess flooding, keep tabs on environmental issues like deforestation or desertification, and more.

The newly released land cover map of Africa shows the continent at an extremely detailed resolution. Each pixel represents just 65.6 feet (20 meters) on the ground. It’s designed to help researchers model the extent of climate change across Africa, study biodiversity and natural resources, and see how land use is changing, among other applications.

Developed as part of the Climate Change Initiative (CCI) Land Cover project, the space agency gathered a full year’s worth of data from its Sentinel-2A satellite to create the map. In total, the image is made from 90 terabytes of data—180,000 images—taken between December 2015 and December 2016.

The map is so large and detailed that the space agency created its own online viewer for it. You can dive further into the image here.

And keep watch: A better map might be close at hand. In March, the ESA launched the Sentinal-2B satellite, which it says will make a global map at a 32.8 feet-per-pixel (10 meters) resolution possible.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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National Low Income Housing Coalition
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Live Smarter
How Many Hours You Need to Work to Pay Rent in Each State
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National Low Income Housing Coalition

According to a recent report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), a full-time worker in the U.S. must earn, on average, $17.14 per hour to comfortably afford a one-bedroom apartment at fair market rent [PDF]. That said, even the nation’s highest minimum wage—which, starting in 2020, is slated to be pegged at $15 in Washington D.C.—isn’t enough to meet these numbers.

This raises the question: How many hours would the average minimum wage worker in each state need to work per week to afford their one-bedroom abodes, without paying more than 30 percent of their overall income? (Spoiler: Those earning the bare federal minimum of $7.25 per hour would need to work 94.5 hours per week—the equivalent of 2.4 full time jobs—to achieve this feat.)

The NLIHC broke down their comprehensive nationwide findings in the map above:

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