With all of the U.S. river complications, delays and closures in the recent headlines, I thought it would be interesting to pass along this incredibly detailed map which shows the complex network of rivers and streams that make up the U.S. river basin in the lower 48 states. Created by Imgur user Femetlenfej, a geographer and GIS analyst with a lifelong passion for maps, it highlights the massive expanse of river across the country — in particular, those which feed the Mississippi River. The map visualizes Strahler Stream Order Classification, with higher stream order indicated as thicker lines. It’s all 100% scientific, based on satellite data and digital elevation models. Every stream and river is placed on a scale of 1 – 10, based on the stream order size. There are 18 major river basins in the 48 states of the contiguous U.S., but much of the map is dominated by the massive area for the Mississippi River, including the Upper and Lower Mississippi River Basins, along with Missouri River Basin and the Arkansas-White-Red Basin, as seen in pink. The top left portion of the map shows much of the Pacific Northwest basin, illustrated in a brownish-orange color. And, the Upper and Lower Colorado River basins stand out as well, in bright yellow. At the top of the map, the Souris-Red-Rainy Basin and the Great Lakes Basin are illustrated in green. It also shows the basin of the Rio Grande snaking between the Colorado Basin and the Arkansas-White-Red Basin. The Rio Grande is indicated in blue, with this basin reaching all the way down to the bottom of Texas. Along both the east and west coasts, a jumble of rainbow colors reveals the networks of much smaller systems that border the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. In 2014, a similar project visualized all 250,000 rivers running through America in stunning colors. Researchers at Vizzuality created the incredible maps from data gathered by the U.S. Geological Survey called the National Hydrography Dataset. The designers then created the design of the map in a software program called CartoDB. CartoDB is a cloud based mapping, analysis and visualization engine that lets user build spatial applications for both mobile and the web. Recently, the firm made its technology available for free. In this map, there are 18 distinct colors. Pink, for example, represents a river that runs north-south or south-north. The longest river on the map is the Missouri at 2540 miles, although the biggest in terms of water volume is the Mississippi, which is deeper. At 692 miles the Yellowstone is the longest un-dammed river in the U.S. I, for one, really enjoy these beautiful maps. I enjoy the marriage of technology and art, in which the creator choses the design and the colors, and nature draws the lines. If you like them too, you can actually go HERE and purchase high quality digital map prints!