Fun with Maps 161&162

Map 161 is aquatic in nature, showing all the major river basins in the United States. It was created by a designer from Brooklyn, NY, Andrew Hill of Vizzuality using data created by the US Geological Survey.


There are 18 major river basins in the country, evidently. They are, in loose geographic order:
                           1. Pacific Northwest Basin
                           2. California River Basin
                           3. Great Basin
                           4. Lower Colorado River Basin
                           5. Upper Colorado River Basin
                           6. Rio Grande River Basin
                           7. Texas Gulf Coast Basin
                           8. Arkansas-White-Red Basin
                           9. Lower Mississippi River Basin
                           10. Missouri River Basin
                           11. Souris-Red-Rainy Basin
                           12. Upper Mississippi Basin
                           13. Great Lakes Basin
                           14. Tennessee River Basin
                           15. Ohio River Basin
                           16. South Atlantic-Gulf Basin
                           17. Mid-Atlantic Basin
                           18. New England Basin


Below is another map with each of the major river basins labeled. You’ll notice that some of these large basins are merged in the more colorful map above. That’s because some basins empty into others. The Missouri, Upper Mississippi, Arkansas-White-Red, Ohio, and Tennessee basins all empty into the Lower Mississippi basin and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico (the purple-pink section of rivers in the map above).


“The Mississippi River has the world’s fourth largest drainage basin” behind the Amazon, the Congo, and the Nile. “The basin covers more than 1,245,000 square miles (3,220,000 km2), including all or parts of 31 states and two Canadian provinces… The total catchment of the Mississippi River covers nearly 40% of the landmass of the continental United States” [Wikipedia and Wikipedia].


Another version with a white background, perhaps easier to see for some

Nature sure is beautiful and interesting. I love it when roadways follow and cross rivers and I can imagine where that river goes (and eventually look it up online and determine if I was even remotely close). I’d like to travel by river more in the future but it is a much slower way to get around. Beth’sparents are on their river cruise down the Rhine right now, actually. It sounds like a fun trip and I’ll share more details and likely a map down the road.

* * * * *

Map 162 shows the percentage of each state that is owned by the Federal Government. I found it on the Big Think. Did you know the Federal Government owns roughly 28% of the land in this country? I didn’t but now we all do. That’s a total of 640 million acres out of the total of 2.27 billion! This large amount of land is used for a variety of good purposes including National Parks, National Forests, Fish and Wildlife Management Areas, and military bases.

Map 162.png

This map was made using data from 2004 but it’s accurate enough. The most noticeable thing in this map is just how much land is owned by the government in the Western half of the country. The top 13 states are in the West (including Hawaii). 84.5% of Nevada is maintained by the Federal Government, the highest percentage in the country. Alaska has the most Federal Area with 663,268 square miles but the state is so large it’s only second by percentage. The second largest state in the country, Texas, has a surprisingly low percentage of Federal Land at 1.9%. That’s equivalent to tiny little Massachusetts and less than the likes of New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Perhaps the stubborn Texas spirit is the reason there is so little Federal influence within the state. I know the United States has three electrical grids and Texas has one all to itself. I learned that factoid on a great History Channel show called How the States Got Their Shapes. You should check it out. Just like the Big Think, I highly recommend it.


Before I go, I would like to wish everyone a Happy Halloween! We’re having a potluck at work and then I get doorbell duty tonight as Beth will be caring for our little man and our nervous canine. She freaks out when we have visitors so we will be drugging her with Benadryl to keep her calm. Halloween and the Fourth of July are her least favorite days of the year, narrowly beating her trips to the vet and any time it thunders. She might like Halloween more if we didn’t keep her from running to the door every time we open it and if she were allowed to eat the candy. She is not because that would cause a trip to the vet, of course.

Update: Pictures from Halloween evening:


Until next time,


Bryan Signature 2




Bonus Map Link: Another Big Think Map I Like






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