Columbia River Calling

Basin Maps, Pt 6 – Daniel Huffman’s Columbia River Subway Style Map

Parts 6 of the Basin Maps focuses on the human side of the river in a novel way–displaying the river as a subway style map.

Description: This map displays the Columbia River and its tributaries in the style of the London Underground maps.  Population centers are displayed as stops along the river and river confluences are marked by transfer nodes.  The cartographer, Daniel Huffman, acknowledges in his methodology that not every river depicted is navigable, but visual of the river as a subway highlights how the river provides navigation benefits, connecting the different towns along the river.

Source: Daniel Huffman (a cartographer who blogs over at somethingaboutmaps)

Date: January 2011

What is unique: The map focuses on two things: the network of the Columbia River and its tributaries (with emphasis on the confluences of the river via the “nodes”) and the cities that reside in close proximity to those waters.  The visual of the river system, simplified into a very human-centered, almost industrial thing, is striking.

What’s missing: Not a lot is displayed in this map–and that is a good thing.  Focusing on a simplified river and the population centers brings out the human side of the basin and highlights the inter-connectedness of the basin residents.  Selecting to display only certain tributaries and towns/cities keeps a cleaner look.


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