Cartographer Daniel Huffman has an amazing series of transit map-style diagrams. Instead of showing ground transportation, though, these show our systems of rivers. The one for the Chesapeake is fascinating.


Southern half (Maryland and below) of Chesapeake diagram. Images by Daniel Huffman.



Geoff Hatchard pointed these out, which mostly date from 2011 and before. There are tons more for all over North and Central America, showing the Hudson, Mississippi, Colorado, systems off the Great Lakes, and many more.

Looking at this, it’s striking how little many of us likely know about our rivers. Sure, if you drive or take a train to Philly or NYC you can’t help but notice the Susquehanna, and the Potomac forms a major border between states, but other than going over a short bridge and it forming a county boundary, how much do we really notice the Patuxent? For how many is the Rappahannock little more than half the name of a commuter bus agency? Yet these are major features of our geography and our lives depend on our planet’s hydrology.

(There are a number of rivers not on the map, notably including the Anacostia, Occoquan, and everything on the east side of the bay.)

David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle.