Map of the Week: A River Runs Toward It, Animating U.S. Topography

Nope, that’s not an oil slick. Look again. The colors correspond to every American river based on which direction each one flows. But this visualization does more than showcase the rainbow-effect. It’s interactive. CartoDB’s Senior Data Scientist, Andrew Hill, brought U.S. geography to life by rendering a vector map of rivers that recieve rain every hour. Our friends at Fast Company like it, too.

Inspired by reading a post from Stephen Von Worley on Curbed SF, Andrew sourced U.S. Government satellite data to begin builiding his own colorful map. He harvested the work of Nelson Minar, whose tutorial project demonstrates how to make a web map with vector tiles, to convert a shape file into a csv for import into CartoDB.

This story has all of the elements we enjoy: open data, open-source, and wow-inducing visuals.

Interested in pretty maps DIY, but lacking blogosphere inspiration? Try importing the locations of +4,000 stream gaging stations and streamflow information from National Atlas, courtesy of CartoDB’s common data portal and accessible from your dashboard. Check out our ever-expanding options for more map ideas.

Happy Mapping!

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