These maps represent a selection from my in-progress atlas of North American waterways. I designed these maps with two goals in mind: first, to enable accurate comparisons between rivers regardless of location or orientation, and second, to emphasize water and water only.
Each map is projected at 1:4,000,000 using a unique Oblique Mercator projection; scale is “true” along the line of tangency, which runs across the center of the page between the river’s source and mouth. Also in the atlas, but not shown here, and many complementary graphs and statistics about each river. This uniform methodology makes it possible to compare differences and similarities between river systems beyond simple length.
I omitted all other thematic information (physical terrain, urban areas, roads, and so forth) in order the keep the reader’s attention on the shapes and sizes of the respective water bodies. I purposely avoided complex hydrological data (I used 10m data from Natural Earth), so most rivers and streams are not displayed.