Meander, created by Robert Hodgin, is “a procedural system for generating historical maps of rivers that never existed.” That statement takes some unpacking. It creates maps inspired by Harold Fisk’s 1944 map of the historical path of the Mississippi River with the Houdini 3D animation app. It starts with an input guideline; the river flows and meanders and oxbows from there. Then the system creates land plots that follow the path of the river. And then it creates a road network on top of that. And then it generates names for all these procedurally generated map features. In other words, Meander doesn’t just procedurally generate a river, it generates the entire country it runs through. Whoa.

Author: Jonathan Crowe

Jonathan Crowe blogs about maps at The Map Room. His essays and reviews have been published by AE, Calafia, The New York Review of Science Fiction, the Ottawa Citizen, Strange Horizons and He lives in Shawville, Quebec.