Thursday, July 25, 2013

Where Does That River Go?

If you're like me you look at a stream and wonder where it comes from or where it goes. The National Atlas has a new tool called Streamer. Click on a stream and you can trace it up or downstream. Here is the path of Butternut Creek in Charlotte, Michigan to Lake Michigan.
Tracing upstream is much more complicated. You get all the possible tributaries above you. Here's a trace of the Tennessee River near its mouth in Kentucky.
Unlike Streamer, rivers do not care about national boundaries. If you trace the Pend Oreille River downstream from Idaho, you get stuck at the Canadian border in Washington. The river itself only makes a short trip into Canada where it empties into the Columbia and heads right back into Washington but this is not shown in Streamer.
I like a good long windy path like the one made by Cassadaga Creek south of Buffalo. It starts just a few miles from Lake Erie but goes the other way instead.
Or Wyoming's Wind River.
Pick your favorite river (if you have one) and give it a try.


coruscate said...

This is an important example of scale and use match. While a beautiful service, it seems I am interested in every stream or river fork not included in this service BUT I know is part of the same source data. This service is a cool curiosity for me. However,without the larger scale data included it gets as tired as looking for your house on Google Earth really quick. So Bravo for doing it, bravo for the awareness and connection to other places it may give some users, but I am immediately left wanting more that I'm pretty sure I won't get unless I build it myself.

Dug said...

I feel similar in wanting more local streams but I'm still impressed with even this level of detail.