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

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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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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Afternoon Map
Monthly Internet Costs in Every Country

Thanks to the internet, people around the world can conduct global research, trade tips, and find faraway friends without ever leaving their couch. Not everyone pays the same price for these digital privileges, though, according to new data visualizations spotted by Thrillist.

To compare internet user prices in each country, cost information site HowMuch.net created a series of maps. The data comes courtesy of English market research consultancy BDRC and Cable.co.uk, which teamed up to analyze 3351 broadband packages in 196 nations between August 18, 2017 and October 12, 2017.

In the U.S., for example, the average cost for internet service is $66 per month. That’s substantially more than what browsers pay in neighboring Mexico ($27) and Canada ($55). Still, we don’t have it bad compared to either Namibia or Burkina Faso, where users shell out a staggering $464 and $924, respectively, for monthly broadband access. In fact, internet in the U.S. is far cheaper than what residents in 113 countries pay, including those in Saudi Arabia ($84), Indonesia ($72), and Greenland ($84).

On average, internet costs in Asia and Russia tend to be among the lowest, while access is prohibitively expensive in sub-Saharan Africa and in certain parts of Oceania. As for the world’s cheapest internet, you’ll find it in Ukraine and Iran.

Check out the maps below for more broadband insights, or view HowMuch.net’s full findings here.

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

[h/t Thrillist]

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