Rivers of America Revealed in Fine Detail on new Vector Map

Talk about a watershed moment! These graphics, made by former Google engineer Nelson Minar, reveal every river system in the U.S. Look close and you can see all the country’s major rivers and their arteries, tributaries, and streams.

The project took Minar “a few weeks,” and the purpose was part of a tutorial for software engineers on how to build vector tile maps.

(See higher-resolution images of the river maps on Flickr.)

Close-up of rivers map

“I mostly did the one big map because it’s beautiful and relatively easy to do,” Minar told us in an email interview. “Pretty much all mobile maps are vector-based now, and Google is moving to vectors on the desktop; I wanted to learn how that technology worked.”

Full map, color inverted

You can read more on the project at Minar’s blog as well as see larger-resolution river pics on his public Flickr set to zoom in and inspect all the interconnected large rivers of the country and on down to tiny streams.

—Stephen Regenold

(See higher-resolution images of the river maps.)

Posted by cam - 06/16/2013 11:10 PM

Is This Available To Purchase Anywhere In A Poster Size?

Posted by Editor - 06/17/2013 12:28 AM

No posters. However, the creator has the files at high res on his Flickr site (link in article) so you could perhaps print DIY. They are also downloadable as vector-based files to scale at any size.

Posted by AK Fan - 06/18/2013 09:06 PM

No Alaska map? We’re a part of the U.S. too!

Posted by Another AK fan - 06/18/2013 11:05 PM

Second the map for us “way up north”
Kinda tired of the “contiguous United States” being represented and forgetting AK and HA.

Posted by restofhe US - 06/19/2013 02:57 AM

Shut up Alaska, no one cares about you.
Now keep pumping out that sweet, sweet oil or else…

Posted by canada - 06/19/2013 01:19 PM

I’ll just stay out of this

Posted by mexico - 06/19/2013 02:28 PM


Posted by Hawaii - 06/20/2013 03:29 PM

Our abbreviation is HI

Posted by Contigious US - 06/20/2013 07:13 PM

I feel so irrigated and flowey!

Posted by Alaskaguy - 06/24/2013 01:06 PM

Yes it would be good to have a historical picture of the Bristol Bay rivers to show our children what was.

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