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National Park Maps

This Digital Library Contains 1000 National Park Maps

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National Park Maps

From barren deserts to lush forests, America's National Park System contains some of the most beautiful and varied landscapes on earth. If you don't have time to visit every NPS property, this digital map database reported by City Lab can help you explore them from the comfort of home. 

Since 2013, one park ranger has uploaded 1053 high-resolution national park maps to npmaps.com. Matt Holly, an employee of the Natural Resource Stewardship and Science Directorate in Colorado, was inspired to launch the unofficial site as a way of organizing the service's vast body of cartography. On the website he writes:

I created this site because I love visiting national parks and planning trips by poring over a classic national park map. However, I’ve always found it time-consuming to visit each park’s web page and use an embedded map viewer or muddle through the website to find a nice printable map. So I’ve done the dirty work for you and collected maps of each park and hosted them here.

The National Park System is composed of 411 protected areas. The library contains maps from around 100 of them, and includes camping maps, trail maps, nautical charts, and local geology guides. 

One of the most exciting aspects of the database is that every map you see is in the public domain. That means that visitors are free to download the maps and use them as they please. Many of the same maps can be found on NPS's official webpages, but Holly takes extra steps to make his versions stand out. He boosts image quality while removing any superfluous text, and each map is accompanied by a summary. 

Whether you're planning a trip for the National Park Service's centennial this fall, or you're just a sucker for good map porn, the collection is worth checking out. You can view some stunning examples from the database below.

Carlsbad Cavern Vintage Map Postcard

Crater Lake Illustrated Map

Detail Map of St. John

Zion Canyon (North) Topographic Map

Devil's Garden Hiking Trail Map (Arches National Park)

[h/t City Lab]

All images courtesy of National Park Maps.

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Jeff Topping/Getty Images
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geography
Which Americans Have The Longest Commutes? Take a Look
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Jeff Topping/Getty Images

A long commute affects more than just whether or not you’ll get to work on time. Spending hours getting to and from the office (especially by car) can make you feel worse about your job and affect your health. Which U.S. areas have the most soul-crushing commutes? Chase Sawyer, a statistician who runs the visualization site Overflow Data, recently mapped out the answer, as CityLab reports.

Using data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey collected between 2011 and 2015, Sawyer created an interactive graphic that examines average commute time across the U.S. Unsurprisingly, commute times near New York City and Washington, D.C. are some of the longest. (Ditto for the Denver area.) Commute times in much of the Midwest are rather short, and in Alaska, they're virtually nonexistent.

You can play with the interactive version of the graphic on the Overflow Data site.

The data, organized by county, shows that Pike County, Pennsylvania (which is part of the New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area) technically has the longest average commute time in the nation, clocking in at 44 minutes. Most of the other super-long commutes are taken by New York City workers, including in the Bronx and Brooklyn, where the average commute times are all more than 40 minutes long. Meanwhile, in some Alaskan counties, average commutes can be as short as five minutes long (meaning many people likely live and work in the same location).

Bear in mind that not every commute looks the same, and how you get to work is as important as how long it takes you. Workers in Brooklyn and the Bronx might be spending an hour on the train each way, but research has shown that workers who take public transit are much happier than those who drive. So a 40-minute commute in a metropolitan area on a train might be nowhere near as awful as a gridlocked commute in a suburban area would be. We're looking at you, Southern California.

[h/t CityLab]

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Transport for London
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Health
London Underground Map Gets a Redesign to Help Riders With Anxiety
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Transport for London

For some London commuters, riding the Underground is a tedious part of the daily grind. For riders with claustrophobia or anxiety disorders, it can be a source of dread. In an effort to make travel accessible to more passengers, Transport for London, the city transportation authority, has published a Tube map identifying routes that bypass long stretches of tunnels, The Independent reports.

Though London’s subway system is called the Underground, most stops are located above street level. It is possible to ride the transit network across London without venturing beneath the city for uninterrupted periods. Even so, some residents prone to anxiety or panic attacks in tight spaces avoid the Tube altogether.

The new design aims to make commuting a more tolerable experience for nervous riders. In the updated map, sections of lines located underground are highlighted in gray, making them easier to navigate around. Nicky Lidbetter, chief executive of the advocacy group Anxiety UK, said in a statement:

"This new map is an excellent resource for those wishing to avoid journeys where there are tunnels, serving as a great pre-journey planning aid and increasing access to public transport. I sincerely hope that the map will encourage those with claustrophobia and/or panic attacks who have previously avoided this form of public transport out of fear to re-consider their use of the Tube."

Section of London Underground map.
Transport for London

Section of London Underground map.
Transport for London

Opening up its services to more customers has become a top priority for Transport for London. In April, it made "please offer me a seat" badges available to riders with physical ailments that often go unnoticed. Riders who tested the program said it made 72 percent of their journeys easier.

[h/t Independent]

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