Monday, December 01, 2014

Road, River & Railway Maps

Railroads: A Staple in World Growth is a neat interactive map showing only all the world's railway lines and no other features. There are enough railway lines around the globe for a recognizable map of the world to appear.

Looking at the emergent map the former eastern bloc countries in Eastern Europe seem to have the densest concentration of railway lines. The map also clearly shows, via the absence of railway lines, some of the world's last remaining great undeveloped areas, such as the Brazilian rain forest, the Saharan Desert and the Australian Outback.

Using the Google Maps API's Styled Maps feature it is possible to create a similar map showing only the world's roads. When Google first released the option to style maps I created this World Road Map.

Unfortunately when you zoom out Google Maps does not show roads, so at the lowest zoom levels you get a blank map. However the advantage of Google Maps showing different details at different zoom levels is that more roads appear as you zoom in on the map. At lower zoom levels you only see highways and major roads on the map but, as you zoom in, you begin to see the whole road network appear.

Nelson Minar created a very beautiful map of the U.S. showing only rivers. Nelson also created a number of interactive maps of the American River Map.

Unfortunately the map tile server for the river data seems to have died so none of the interactive maps appear to work anymore. However you can still view images of the American River Map on Flickr.

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