Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Mapping Where the Rivers Flow

Over the last few days Stamen Design has been busy creating animated maps which visualize some of the major watersheds of the world.

The animated maps in Visualizing the World’s Watersheds shows the flow of water starting at the most upstream locations in a major watershed and ends where these rivers eventually enter into the oceans. These animated maps are a great visualization of individual watersheds. For example the GIF above of South America's major watersheds perfectly illustrates how the Andes on the east of the continent contributes to the huge watersheds which flow west across nearly the whole continent and into the Atlantic Ocean.  

Stamen has also created animated maps which visualize the flow of the major watersheds in North America, Asia & Oceania.

If you are interested in exploring other interactive visualizations of the world's watersheds then you might also enjoy these maps:

The Watersheds Map allows you to visualize watershed regions throughout the USA. As you mouse-over the map it automatically updates to show upstream areas in red and downstream areas in blue. The map allows you to visualize over 100,000 watershed regions in the United States.

The Watershed Explorer interactive map allows you to click anywhere in the world to view all of its upstream areas and the downstream flow.When you click on this map a high-resolution digital elevation model is used to calculate the flow direction that water would take at every point on the surrounding land. The map then follows "these directions to calculate the region that contributes to a single outlet".

The USGS's Streamer map allows you to trace rivers or streams upstream to their source or downstream to their final destinations in the USA. The interactive map can create very dramatic visualizations of river watersheds, particularly when you trace a river upstream to show all of its tributaries.

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