THIS IS A REAL MAP.  I saw this and thought someone had painted something pretty on top of an old map.
Not so, which means this might be the most amazing map I’ve ever seen.
In the early 1940s, the Army Corps of Engineers commissioned a guy named Harold Fisk to make a map of the various courses the Mississippi River has taken over time.  He showed each course in a different color, to show when and how they happened.  This is the result.

Just goes to show, the representation of practical information can be executed in a way that is also aesthetically pleasing.

I feel like I could look at these forever.  I’ve searched and searched and I’m pretty sure you can’t buy any prints (original or reproduced) of this, but I wish you could*!  I would frame a whole bunch and hang them on my wall!
(*If anyone can find any originals and would like to give them to me, it would be like the coolest gift eveerrrr, just sayin)
Rivers are constantly in flux, as they erode banks and make deeper curves (or “meanders”), until the meanders become so meandering that the two sides of the curve almost touch.  At this point, the river cuts off the curve and so that it has a straight path again, and it leaves an oxbow lake behind.
Here’s a detail:
When all the pages, each showing a different section, of his study are fit together, they form this long continuous path of the Mississippi.  I can’t get the image to load any larger, but it looks really cool when it’s shown as the same width as the pages above.

Harold Fisk, 1944

via Pixels & Arrows

One Response to “I Love Maps >> I’M DYING THIS IS SO AMAZING”
  1. Elizabeth says:

    I love these, too. I've always thought they look like someone threw a pile of ribbons on top of a map. The Corps of Engineers had a "tame and conquer" philosophy of the Mississippi for so long, because of its crazy fluctuations. They built a scale hydraulic model around the same time that they commissioned the maps:

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