the Mississippi River, by Daniel Huffman (2011)

With the gracious permission of somethingaboutmaps[ portfolio || prints || RSS || twitter ] we bring you these three maps of the riverine transport network of the Mississippi divided into "upper", "middle", and "lower" portions. Head over to their site and check out their many maps of other rivers; you won't regret it.

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Upper Mississippi River
Purchase a print from somethingaboutmaps — [download PDF].

Middle Mississippi River
Purchase a print from somethingaboutmaps — [download PDF].

Lower Mississippi River
Purchase a print from somethingaboutmaps — [download PDF].

Daniel Huffman's map of the Mississippi River system; from (2011)

the Mississippi River system (2011)
Daniel Huffman's map of the Mississippi River system image detail
Date: 2011
Author: Daniel Huffman
Source: somethingaboutmaps
Print Availability:
Print Availability a
This map isn't part of any series, but we have other Mississippi River maps that you might want to check out.

When I started the BIG Map Blog last April, I seeded my "links" sections with several of my favorite mapping blogs, cartographers, and resources. One of these was somethingaboutmaps, the blog of Daniel Huffman. Mr Huffman is a cartographer from Madison, Wisconsin who I have followed for quite some time and whose work I've always thought compelling and inventive.

Today's maps of the Mississippi River system are a good introduction to his growing body of work. I encourage everyone to head over to his website and check out his other maps; I think you'll find them similarly engaging.

Citing Harry Beck's legendary Tube Map of the London Underground as an inspirational starting point, Huffman explains the virtues (long-proved to riders of public transit) of this type of cartographic abstraction:

...the result is more of an abstract network representation than you would find on most maps, but it’s also a lot more fun. The geography is intentionally distorted to clarify relationships. I think it helps translate the sort of visual language of nature into a more engineered one, putting the organic in more constructed terms.

It was with interest and admiration that I read Mr Huffman's recent blog post"Opening the Vaults". In it he details his decision to offer PDF versions of every map he sells on the site. I'm a strident advocate of this type of creative (and "data") transparency; I've benefited greatly from the openness and generosity of men and women who make this type of principled choice. I've seen it reap rewards – as I'm sure it will reward Mr Huffman – in the form of goodwill, collaboration opportunities, and increased visibility and sales.

Go buy one of his gorgeous prints if you'd like to show your appreciation for this magnanimous gesture.

(God do I love this map. I ain't bragging or nothing, but I live in HuSTLe City, at the confluence of the two greatest river systems in North America; these maps speak to me of an opportunity -- a mandate, really -- to repudiate my ignorance and to visit a lost part of my history. For years I've been putting off reading a book called "River Horse" by an author named Heat-Moon. His first book, "Blue Highways" was a pretty fantastic work. It got a little thick with some new-age-hippy bullshit at times, but with character sketches as great as it has, all is forgiven. Anyone read it?)

Daniel Huffman's map of the Mississippi River system wide thumbnail image