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Mapping U.S. rivers like a national subway system

A transit map for navigating U.S. waterways

“Subway map” of U.S. rivers Theo Rindos via Citylab

There’s just something fascinating about subway maps—so much so that designers have gone to great lengths to produce a map of all the world’s subways, subway-style maps of video games, and even an addictive metro-map-themed app. The latest fuel for this collective subway map obsession is Theo Rindos’s Major Rivers of the United States, which charts the country’s waterways as if they were country-wide transit lines—which they are, when you think about it.

Theo Rindos via Citylab

The 27-year old graphic designer is based in New York City, but adopted the style of Harry Beck’s iconic London Underground map rather than one of the NYC subway map designs.

“London is a very old city and the streets are not laid out in a grid, but Harry found a way to transform something chaotic into something clean, readable, and beautiful,” he explained to Citylab. “I wanted to take something completely natural and structure it as a transit system, because technically these rivers once were and still are a form of transportation.”

Rindos used colored circles to represent the origin points of each “line” and white circles to show intersections with other rivers or splits. Black dots along the rivers—the “stations”—are cities.

Rindos created the map mostly for himself and hasn’t yet offered it for sale publicly. But something tell us that this project was made for crowdfunding.

Via: Citylab