#Environment

Top 5 Satellite Images of Rivers

An art that flows

Rivers were the source of civilisation that gave life along the path it flowed. Over time, few rivers have changed their path, few disappeared, few dried up but very few rivers form an artwork by itself. Below are such artworks captured from Space. They are some of the amazing satellite images of rivers across the globe.

Dnieper River:

Credits: Tim Kopra/NASA

The fourth longest river of Europe captured by Astronaut Tim Kopra while orbiting Earth as part of the Expedition 36 and 37 missions. One can easily take this for an amazing masterpiece of an artist. This marvellous appearance of the river is attributed to the fact that it owns more than 32,000 tributaries.

Acquired: 04 Jan 2016

Indus Delta:

Korangi, or Korangi Town, is part of the Karachi metropolitan area of coastal Pakistan. This photograph taken by an astronaut from the International Space Station highlights the contrast between the highly urbanized and industrialized Korangi area and the dense green mangrove forests and waterways of the Indus River Delta to the south. Away from the river delta, vegetation cover disappears rapidly to the northeast.

Acquired: April 20, 2013

Zambezi River:

Credits: NASA EARTH OBSERVATORY

The Zambezi River forms part of the border between Zambia and Namibia, where the Caprivi Strip juts eastward from the rest of Namibia. Flowing down a gentle gradient in this region, the Zambezi often spills onto floodplains during the rainy season, with water levels peaking between February and April.

Acquired: 31 March 2013

Danube River:

Credits: NASA EARTH OBSERVATORY

The Danube Delta has been home to human settlements since the end of the Stone Age (the Neolithic Period), and the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines all built trading ports and military outposts along this coast. Today, the border between Romania and Ukraine cuts through the northern part of the delta. The area is a United Nations World Heritage Site, both for its natural and human history, and for the traditional maritime culture that persists in its marshes. All the while, the landscape has been shaped and re-shaped by nature and man.

Acquired: 5 Feb 2013

Rio Mamore:

Credits: NASA EARTH OBSERVATORY

What causes rivers to meander, and why do some meander more than others? These questions have been the subject of research for more than a century, and several hypotheses and studies have focused on the role of sediments. The Amazon Basin—free of engineering controls and containing a wide range of sediment loads—provides a natural laboratory in which to investigate the relationship. Whatsoever, each meandering keeps adding to the beauty of the river.

Acquired: 13 July 2014

At the end all these rivers keeps us inspired and fascinated, making us fall in love with the BEAUTY OF EARTH and its features again and again!

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#Ideas

Which is the best map projection?

The ‘orange peel problem’ is perhaps the most widely-cited analogy that geographers use to explain why a three-dimensional world cannot be represented in two dimensions sans any kind of distortion. Try as you might, you just cannot flatten an orange peel without tearing, squashing or stretching it. Likewise, when cartographers try to flatten the Earth for a map projection, distortions in terms of shape, distance, direction, or land area are inevitable to creep in.

Depending on the purpose they are trying to serve, the number of possible map projections is limitless. However, which map projection should be used for general purposes, such as, for hanging in classrooms or on TV news? Here’s how some popular projections weigh against each other:

Mercator

The most popular map projection in the world has been around for 448 years now. It was created by Flemish cartographer Gerardus Mercator in 1569 – a time when Antarctica hadn’t even been discovered. Mercator was designed as a navigational tool for sailors as it was most convenient to hand-plot courses with parallel rules and triangles on this map.

In most maps, when you try to fix one kind of distortion, you increase another kind of distortion. However, Mercator is one of those rare maps whose answer to latitudinal distortion was to ensure that the longitudinal distortion is equally bad!

On a Mercator projection, Greenland is roughly the same size as Africa. In reality, Africa is almost 14 times larger, and Greenland can fit inside China no less than four times. The map also suggests that Scandinavian countries are larger than India, whereas, India is actually three times the size. And yet, Google Maps, Bing, Yahoo and even OpenStreetMaps continue using some version or the other of the Mercator to display the world.

Pros: Sailors loved it; preserves angles and directions in a small area

Cons: Bad for understanding the real size and shape of continents and countries

Related: After this video you’ll never trust a map again

Gall-Peters

The biggest criticism for the skewed Mercator projection came in 1973 from German filmmaker and journalist Arno Peters. Peters argued that by enlarging Europe and North America, Mercator maps were giving white nations a sense of supremacy over non-white nations.

His solution? An equal-area projection that would show the correct sizes of countries relative to each other. Not that the Gall-Peters projection came without any flaws. In its quest of removing size distortions, the map stretched some places near the poles horizontally to a shocking degree. It also stretched land masses vertically near the Equator. So, if the map looks really odd to you, it’s because the shapes and angles are all wrong – exactly the reason why we don’t see this map online much. Nevertheless, it’s quite widely used in the British school system.

Pros: The only ‘area-correct’ map of its time; got featured in The West Wing (S2E16)

Cons: Galled the cartographic community in the 1980s

Suggested: Do you know how maps of Game of Thrones were created?

Robinson

American geographer and cartographer Arthur H. Robinson came up with this projection in 1963, focusing more on the ‘look’ of the map than precise measurement of places. Robinson intended the map, which is neither equal-area nor conformal, as a general purpose tool.

In fact, he told the New York Times in a 1988 interview, “I decided to go about it backwards. I started with a kind of artistic approach. I visualized the best-looking shapes and sizes. I worked with the variables until it got to the point where, if I changed one of them, it didn’t get any better. Then I figured out the mathematical formula to produce that effect. Most mapmakers start with the mathematics.”

Hopefully, this map would replace Mercator in classrooms.

Pros: Shows the entire world at once

Cons: Compromises both area and angles, especially at the poles

Interesting: Which map did Christopher Columbus use?

Winkel-Tripel

Proposed by German cartographer Oswald Winkel in 1921, the Winkel-Tripel projection is quite the opposite of Robinson. The map resorts to mathematics to curtail three major types of distortion – area, direction, and distance (and hence the German term for ‘triple’, Tripel, is in the name). This map projection shows Greenland as the same size as Argentina, and not as the size of all of South America.

The National Geographic Society has been drawing all its standard maps using the Winkel-Tripel projection since 1998, and many US schools have followed suit. However, despite its popularity, since the map doesn’t preserve angles, it is nowhere close to replacing Mercator for navigation purposes.

Pros: Reasonably accurate shapes and sizes of countries

Cons: Land masses closer to the poles still enlarged

Must see: These 5 tools will let you master map projections

AuthaGraph

This is hands-down the most accurate map projection in existence. In fact, AuthaGraph World Map is so proportionally perfect, it magically folds it into a three-dimensional globe.

Japanese architect Hajime Narukawa invented this projection in 1999 by equally dividing a spherical surface into 96 triangles. These triangles were then projected onto a tetrahedron, which not only helped maintain the proportions of land and water, but also helped to unfold the map into a perfect, flat rectangle. Narukawa, however, insists that if the map is refined a step further to increase the number of subdivisions, its accuracy will improve and it can officially be called an area-equal map.

Nonetheless, AuthaGraph realistically represents all oceans and continents, including the neglected Antarctica. And while the general shape of the continents is maintained, you will notice that their orientation is skewing upwards – as if in a smile!

Pros: Most accurate; will win you Japan’s biggest design award; can be folded into a 3D globe

Cons: The Arctic Circle gets somewhat squashed

Is your favorite map projection not on the list? Let us know in the comments below!

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