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.
The makers of the Transit app (iPhone, Android) like to point out that whereas Apple’s transit maps are beautiful but basically hand-drawn and added manually and slowly, and Google’s maps are algorithmically generated but look terrible, their maps are algorithmically generated but look smooth and neat. A technical post by their backend developer explains in ridiculous detail how they managed to auto-generate their smooth, curved transit network maps.
Over the past five years, designer Jug Cerović has produced 40 metro maps using a common, standardized design language. Now he’s launching a Kickstarter campaign to gather them all in a single collection, called One Metro World, in both book and mobile app form. The book in particular sounds lovely: hardbound, printed on quality paper, and with stories about each map—plus 15 of the maps get additional schematics “highlighting network peculiarities as well as map design choices.” [Mark Ovenden]
Cameron Booth has released an apparently final version of his subway-style Amtrak network map, which he’s been working on for the past few years. In this version he’s reworked it to improve spacing and lettering; routes do not overlap one another, which also improves clarity. It doesn’t reduce well to a single screen (he does sell prints), but it’s no small achievement to show the crowded Northeast Corridor and the rest of the network in one go and still show all the lines and connections clearly. Wired coverage.
Never mind research that suggests that a single map adding bus lines to an already complicated subway map is cognitively overwhelming. Anthony Denaro has created a map of the New York City transit system that shows bus as well as subway routes—basically, a map of every means of transportation accessible by Unlimited MetroCard. Complex? You bet. Difficult to produce? Unquestionably: Anthony takes us through all the design choices he had to make. Difficult to use? Impossible for me to say (I haven’t even visited New York), but as Anthony points out, this map isn’t for tourists; it’s for frequent users. And no doubt it’ll be yet another engagement in the ongoing New York Subway Map War. [CityLab]
Designer Constantine Konovalov and his team spent more than two years creating this reimagined map of the Paris Métro system. Its design is based on circles: lines 2 and 6, which encircle the city core, are presented as a perfect circle, and the tramlines that follow the Péripherique form a circular arc as well. It’s quite well done; don’t miss the video on the site that timelapses through every iteration of the map’s design. Could someone navigate the RATP’s network with this map? I think so (though it’s been 19 years since I’ve been to Paris). See also Transit Maps’ analysis of the map.
Londonist has a “first peek” at the new Tube map, scheduled to be released next month. “Open it up, and you’ll see something straight away that is new—for the first time, TfL has added in the trams, even though they’ve been running since May 2000.”
Cameron Booth’s latest project is a New York subway map in the form of the London Tube Map: “A little while ago, someone asked me on my Transit Maps blog whether I had ever seen a map of the New York subway system in the style of the London Underground diagram. Rather surprisingly, I hadn’t actually come across one, so I decided to draw one up myself.”
I’m surprised someone hasn’t done one already, but then there’s the problem of service pattern complexity unique to New York, which Cam handles by simply not handling it—making this a design exercise rather than a usable map. “The map certainly looks attractive, but the Tube Map’s style is ill-suited to the intricate working complexities of the New York subway system.”
Ellen Harvey’s Network, envisaged as a hand-made glass mosaic depicting Boston’s transportation network, has been chosen as the permanent art installation to be installed at Boston’s South Station. From the proposal:
NETWORK will consist of a hand-made glass mosaic map of the surroundings of South Station juxtaposing the three principal forms of land transportation (rail, subway and road) with the older water-based routes into the city. Each form of transportation is coded a different color—black for subways, dark grey for rail, light grey for roads and silver for water. As travelers descend the stairs, they move towards the ocean where a small mermaid inset in the silvery sea of Boston harbor surveys (literally) the land. NETWORK imagines a world in which the mermaid escapes her destiny of romantic frustration and temptation and decides to take on the land, just as perhaps now we need nature to lead our transportation decisions, rather than to be subject to them.
Harvey, by the way, has the best quote: “There is no romance in your soul if you don’t love a map.” [via]