Submission - Historical Map: Amsterdam GVB Map by Hans van der Kooij, 1980s
Submitted by Alain Lemaire, who says:
this map might interest you - in response to your blog post of Joan Zalacain’s Amsterdam tram map.
It seems the 30/60 degree paradigm is indeed well suited to Amsterdam’s topological layout. Too bad this once official map is no longer in use today.
Transit Maps says:
Thanks to Alain for sending this beauty in! Simply put, this is lovely work. What I really like about this map is the way it combines multiple tram routes into just four colours, each representing a different service pattern:
This approach also has the benefit of implying service frequency: the thicker the line, the more often a tram comes along. Other services — the Metro and NS trains are incorporated with a minimum of fuss, and there’s clear information about connecting services where appropriate. Large bodies of water (but only the Amstel, not the city’s famous canals) give some geographical scope to the map. If I have one complaint, it’s that I’m never really a fan of keylining a yellow route line with black: it always looks a little overpowering to my eyes.
Our rating: Fantastic, restrained, useful European 1980s design. Four-and-a-half-stars.
Unofficial Map: Dodecalinear Amsterdam Tram Map, by Joan Zalacain
"Dodecalinear" is fancy designer-speak for a 30-degree grid: it refers to the fact that the route lines can be laid out in twelve directions instead of the eight allowed by a standard 45-degree or octolinear map.
To put it in simpler terms: imagine six lines that pass through a central point — from that point, you can now travel in any of twelve directions. Technically, you can use any combination of opposing angles and still have a dodecalinear structure, it’s just that the regular spacing of 30-degree angles usually creates the most visually appealing look.
That said, creating a competent dodecalinear transit map is easier said than done, and should really only be attempted when it can bring a tangible benefit to the map. I used this form of map to great effect in my own unofficial rail map for Portland, Oregon — here, the 30/60-degree angles allowed me to more accurately depict the street grid in the downtown area of the city.
This map, designed by Joan Zalacain as part of his Masters of Information Design at the renowned University of Reading, certainly uses the extra angles to good effect. Amsterdam’s radial canals almost beg for this type of approach, and it’s executed deftly. The final version at the bottom right of this panel, with all the details of the city added in, looks quite superb, even in this dimly-lit Instagram photo.
Unofficial Map: Rail Transport of the Randstad, the Netherlands
Here’s a submission via the Transit Maps Facebook Page from reader Dave Kramer. This is a beautiful map of NS rail service within the Netherland’s Randstad region: an informal name for the conurbation of the four largest Dutch cities - Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht - and the surrounding areas.With a combined population of 7.1 million, it’s one of the largest conurbations in Europe and is serviced by a comprehensive rail system.
Dave points out that the map was created in 2009, so the routes may or may not be totally accurate now (I seem to recall a Sprinter train that ran through Schiphol to Amsterdam when I was there in late 2010, but I may be wrong).
Have we been there? My sole experience with NS trains has been from Schiphol to Amsterdam Centraal and back again.
What we like: Looks fantastic. A very clean, stylish and oh-so-European diagram. The typography is particularly nice (I can even forgive the 90-degree angled type because it’s handled so deftly). Different levels of service are denoted through use of colour alone - a dangerous approach when considering color-blind users - but there’s enough contrast between those colours for it to work relatively well (I ran the map through a colour-blindness simulator to check this).
What we don’t like: Major hub stations where every train stops could benefit from an “interchange station” style marker, rather than individual dots on each line. This is especially true for all the “Centraal” stations. The final destinations of routes that leave the Randstad are labelled within the route lines themselves, which makes them a little small and hard to read.
Our rating: Excellent. 4 stars!
(Source: Dave Kramer)
Unofficial Map: Amsterdam Metro and Railway Connections by Eric Hammink
The simplified rectilinear grid is such a familiar form for transit maps that when we see something that breaks that mould, the results can be visually stunning. That’s certainly the case with this beautiful map from designer Erik Hammink, who uses the natural circular shape of Amsterdam’s canals to great effect.
Have we been there? Yes, although I’ve only used the tram network rather than the Metro service.
What we like: Lovely, minimalist European design, with echoes of 1930s Art Deco transit posters in its stylised, circular rendering of the IJ and the Amsterdam Metro type to the top right of the map. Beautifully clear and easy to read. I especially like the rendering of Amsterdam’s ring of canals, which orients the user perfectly.
What we don’t like: The need to adhere to the radial spoke design form means that some of the curves where routes change direction look a little uneven. The icon for Schiphol airport looks very large and out of character compared to the smaller, more elegant icons for the Metro and rail termini stations. The gradients behind the legends at the top of the map look a little modern and iOS-like compared to the beautiful retro feel the rest of the map has.
Our rating: Stunning work, especially when you also know that Eric has also produced a map of Amsterdam’s dense tram network that appears to fit onto the same radial grid. A true labour of love, and it shows. Four stars.
(Source: Hammink Design website - free download for personal use)