Project Subway NYC’s X-Ray Area Maps

As part of her Project Subway NYC, architect Candy Chan has created a series of X-Ray Area Maps of various New York subway stations. These maps show the subway stations—their platforms, their passages, their staircases—relative to the surrounding streets and buildings. Absolutely engrossing. Chan explains her methodology in this blog post. She’s also selling posters. [Kottke]

Baltimore’s Radi(c)al New Transit Map

Maryland Transit Administration

Baltimore gets a radical new transit map (direct PDF link) to go along with its redesigned bus network, which goes into service on Sunday. The map, which Greater Greater Washington reports was designed by Marc Szarkowski, adopts a diagrammatic radial style—essentially, a diagrammatic map based on concentric circles rather than a grid.

For those who find such a map just a little too out there, the Maryland Transit Administration also has a system map with a more familiar design (PDF).

Maryland Transit Administration

They call it a geographic system map, only it isn’t: it’s still a schematic, just less radical—or, if you like, less radial. [Planetizen]

New York Subway Track Map

Last year I told you about Andrew Lynch’s posters of individual New York subway lines. Now Lynch has created something that will be of interest to anyone who likes the London Underground’s track network map or Franklin Jarrier’s detailed rail maps: a geographically accurate subway track map for New York City, which can be downloaded as a PDF here. He describes how he went about making it (with apologia that sound like standard mapmaking compromises):

Collecting every historical map I could find, using GIS data, satellite imagery (both current and historic), YouTube videos of fan trips, my own observations looking out the window of trains through tunnels, and talking to retired track workers I was able to draw what I believe to be the most accurate track map of the NYC Subway ever. Features I’ve added to the map are all provisions for future expansion and abandoned sections with a notes section explaining each one as well as an exploded view for the more complex stations and areas obscured by overlapping tracks. I’ve elected to remove all streets as not to clutter the map and also not to imply that specific sections (such as crossovers) are perfectly aligned to the street grid. While the map is geographically accurate at this scale tracks had to be spaced far enough apart to read correctly so lines are not perfect aligned with the widths of the streets. Also some train yards have been truncated to fit within the geographical boundaries of the map.

Previously: New York Subway Line Posters; A Map of the London Underground Track Network.

Montreal’s Anglo Metro Map

Daniel Raillant-Clark’s map of Montréal’s Métro with anglicized station names (in most cases) is full of awful translations in both directions and puns in both languages (example: “Georges-Vanier” becomes “George Go Deny It” because va nier means go deny). To see what the hell this map is messing with, the real Métro map is here. [MTL Blog/Reddit]

Tube Maps of the Thames

Transport for London also operates river buses along the Thames; their maps of the London River Services are very much in the Tube map vein, in both tourist and non-tourist versions:

Of the tourist version Ollie O’Brien of Mapping London says this: “We like the pseudo-tube-map styling, although it could of course be simplified even further, with the Thames just being shown as a straight line. The inclusion of isometric squares showing the major landmarks near each pier is a nice touch. TfL has never really decided whether its river services are for tourists or commuters, but this map should satisfy both.”

Mapping Amtrak Cuts

President Trump’s proposed budget would end funding for Amtrak’s long-distance passenger routes, leaving only the Northeast Corridor and state-funded lines. Maps of the lines that would be closed share the problems of Amtrak network maps in general. Take USA Today’s map from its 12 April article on the subject:

Like electoral maps that make large, less-populated areas look more important than densely populated areas, this map is somewhat deceptive: it distorts the extent of the cutbacks because it shows lines rather than trains. There are, for example, a lot more trains in the Northeast Corridor than run between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest (the daily Empire Builder). State-run services tend to have lots of lines and trains over short distances that are too small to see clearly on this map. Adding connecting services (which are usually bus routes) adds even more detail, and clutter, to a small map.

Cameron Booth, for his part, visualizes the proposed cuts by starting with his Amtrak Subway Map and greying out the lines that would be cut. This doesn’t solve the number-of-trains problem, but it does provide a clearer sense of what’s happening to the network.

Previously: Cameron Booth’s Amtrak Subway Map.

The Transit Line Colour Palette

MIT grad student Ari Ofsevit created an infographic showing the colours used to mark transit lines by a number of different North American transit agencies and posted it to Twitter last month, where he got all kinds of feedback. (One response pointed out that the colour choices aren’t great for red-green colour blindness.) Ofsevit, who also makes hiking trail maps in the style of transit maps, is running a Kickstarter to create a poster of the transit palette. [Next City]

An Error-Ridden Tube Map Shower Curtain

Speaking of Londonist, they had a great deal of fun pedantically savaging a decidedly unofficial tube map shower curtain. “This error-ridden shower curtain was purchased via a random seller on ebay, whom we’re not going to gratify with a link. A bit of googling reveals that tube shower curtains are a bit of a thing. There are many variations out there, all presumably knocked together and marketed without permission from Transport for London.” (So much of a thing that I thought I’d linked to something like this before, but apparently not. No doubt my readers can send me links.)

Previously: Map Shower Curtain and Bikini; More Map Shower Curtains; Sea Monster Shower Curtain.

A Map of Southeast Asia’s Future Rail Lines

Map by James Clark

Travel blogger James Clark has created a subway-style map of southeast Asia that shows every rail line that currently exists, is under construction, or proposed.

What would Southeast Asia look like if it had a fully functioning railway network? I have thought about this many times, usually while on a bus ride from hell (Huay Xai to Luang Prabang springs to mind). […]

Over the years I’ve bookmarked news articles reporting railway lines that are under construction, or have been proposed to be built. Compiling all this data I have created a map of what Southeast Asia could look like if all of those lines were built, combined with current railways.

James warns that he’s included every proposed line, “no matter how ridiculous,” so bear that in mind. It’s also available as a poster. [CityLab]

Mini Metros


Mini Metros shrinks and simplifies 220 subway and light rail systems; the end result fits on a single sheet. Its creator, Peter Dovak, explains the challenge of making small and simple representations of sometimes inordinately complex transit systems:

All of the cities in the project had the same requirements: they had to fit in a 120px circle (with 10px of padding), the lines had to be 3px wide with a minimum of another 3px between the next parallel line, and all diagonals had to be 45-degrees. The systems themselves needed to be full-fledged heavy rail metro systems or light rail networks that were distinct enough from trolleys or streetcars.

Prints and mugs are available. [Maptitude]