Mountains and Rivers
For over 100 years, atlas and map publishers in the United States and Europe published a style of map that was a visualization of the heights and lengths of the world's mountains, rivers, lakes, and waterfalls. Some of the earliest examples appeared in Europe towards the end of the 18th century. In the United States, the form was popular throughout the 19th century and the early part of the 20th. These maps appeared in atlases, as wall maps, and as pocket maps.
The mountains and rivers maps appeared in several styles and formats. A popular style, reproduced at the back of this case, was to pile up all the mountains on the right side, ascending from the lowest to the highest, and then hang all the rivers, straightened out, on the left side, in the opposite order. Another style was to pile up all the mountains in the center with heights on the left and right sides, as shown on the British Isles map on the right. The Waterfalls of the World map on the left is in a form that rarely appears—showing all the waterfalls of the world flowing into one river. In addition to being beautiful in their own right, these map diagrams are early forms of information visualization.