Generic terms for streams mapped

Posted to Maps  |  Tags: ,  |  Nathan Yau

The names of places can say a lot about a geographic area. Derek Watkins maps the most common term for a stream across the country. You’ve got branches and bayous in the south, brooks and streams in the northeast, and washes and arroyos in the southwest.

Some historical context from Watkins:

Lite-Brite aesthetic notwithstanding, I like this map because it illustrates the range of cultural and environmental factors that affect how we label and interact with the world. Lime green bayous follow historical French settlement patterns along the Gulf Coast and up Louisiana streams. The distribution of the Dutch-derived term kill (dark blue) in New York echoes the colonial settlement of “New Netherland” (as well as furnishing half of a specific toponym to the Catskill Mountains). Similarly, the spanish-derived terms rio, arroyo, and cañada (orange hues) trace the early advances of conquistadors into present-day northern New Mexico, an area that still retains some unique cultural traits. Washes in the southwest reflect the intermittent rainfall of the region, while streams named swamps (desaturated green) along the Atlantic seaboard highlight where the coastal plain meets the Appalachian Piedmont at the fall line.

[Inundated with placenames]

11 Comments

Favorites

Graphical perception – learn the fundamentals first

Before you dive into the advanced stuff – like just about everything in your life – you have to learn the fundamentals before you know when you can break the rules.

Where People Run in Major Cities

There are many exercise apps that allow you to keep …

Visualizing the Uncertainty in Data

Data is an abstraction, and it’s impossible to encapsulate everything it represents in real life. So there is uncertainty. Here are ways to visualize the uncertainty.

10 Best Data Visualization Projects of 2015

These are my picks for the best of 2015. As usual, they could easily appear in a different order on a different day, and there are projects not on the list that were also excellent.