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The Incredible 'Vein Maps' of the World...

•, By Cheyenne MacDonald

The maps, created by geographer and GIS analyst Robert Szucs, visualize permanent and temporary rivers and streams, using a rainbow of colours to differentiate the intricate branches.

Using a system known as Strahler Stream Order Classification, Szucs highlights the staggering breadth of Earth's watersheds, with the individual flows involved in each particular basin shown as lines of varying thickness.

The creator uses the open-source QGIS software to visualize the networks based on scientific data.

By the Strahler Stream Order, branches of higher stream orders are indicated as thicker lines.

He recently updated his map of the United States, which reveals the massive expanse of river basins across the country – in particular, those which feed the Mississippi River (light pink)

The previous version, he explains, 'had a few small errors, like a missing part of the Columbia river, funny looking rivers on the Mexican border, neighbouring basins having too similar colours, etc, and I also decided to remove the Great Lakes.'