Metro Map, Pyongyang, North Korea
An interactive metro map from North Korea’s secretive capital. The green buttons across the bottom of the map represent all the stations: press one and the path from your current station to your destination lights up. With just a handful of stations on two lines (and only one interchange), I hardly think many people are going to be overwhelmed by the system’s complexity.
Wikipedia’s article on the Pyongyang Metro is actually a very interesting read: the stations are mostly named thematically (Comrade, Enlightenment, Three Rejuvenations, etc.), while accounts vary as to exactly how many stations foreign visitors to the city can visit — whatever the final number, it seems that they’re mostly limited to the newer, more impressive stations.
On Our Way to Asakusa
Here’s a dreamy shallow depth of field photo from Tokyo’s Ginza Line. Yum.
(Source: Eric Flexyourhead/Flickr)
In-Car Strip Map, Seoul Metro, South Korea
Submitted by Sam Gold, who says:
“Taken last week on Line 2 of the Seoul Metro. I found these system maps to be close to unusable!”
Transit Maps says: Hard to disagree with Sam here. You’d need some excellent vision or really good glasses to be able to make out all the detail on this map, which crams all of Seoul’s extensive system into an area often used to show just one line or far simpler systems.
Unofficial Map: Istanbul Rapid Transit, by Kerim Bayer
One of the things I love about running this blog is when amateur map designers send me their work for review. The quality of these maps is often amazing, and this one of Istanbul’s rapid transit network by Istanbul native Kerim Bayer is a fantastic example.
Design- and quality-wise, it far surpasses the official map (shown in the images above for comparative purposes), which is a bit of a shambles: weird angles, muddy colours, poorly drawn and a bit old-fashioned. By contrast, Kerim’s map is bright, clear and modern.
Have we been there? No.
What we like: It’s obvious a lot of thought and attention to detail has gone into this map, including what parts of Istanbul’s transit system actually constitute “rapid transit”. As a result, dedicated BRT bus routes are shown, but the city’s two short gondola cable cars are not.
The general layout of the map is very pleasing, with nice even spacing between stations and well thought-out interchanges between lines. I especially like the addition of walking distances between platforms to give an idea of how long a transfer might take.
The colours used throughout the map are bright and modern - the substitution of light blue for water instead of a heavy grey makes a huge difference to the mood of the map.
What we don’t like: Despite looking fantastic, there is one huge drawback with Kerim’s map: everything is just too small in comparison to the finished size of the map. The PDF Kerim sent me is around 41 inches wide, or just over a metre. This seems to me to be a realistic final size for an in-car map, or a map you might find at a train station. However, his station labels at that final size are set at a mere 12 points - far too small to be read at any distance, or on a moving train.
Similarly, I feel that the route lines themselves are a little thin and spindly at the map’s final size - especially for the “under construction” routes, which have a white stroke down the middle of the line, making them very visually weak at any distance. I’d also like to see a little more differentiation between the different modes of transit shown on the map: at the moment it’s a little hard to tell which lines are BRT as opposed to tram or light rail, for example.
Finally, Kerim’s map sacrifices some information shown on the official map, such as the location of park-and-ride stations. While it helps his map look cleaner, this is important information for commuters and should be considered for inclusion.
Our rating: A beautiful-looking map that suffers slightly because of real-world considerations, but still an amazing piece of work that shows great potential. Four stars.
(Source: via email from Kerim)
Official Map: Hong Kong MTR
Opened in 1979, the Hong Kong MTR (Mass Transit Railway) has a very clean, easy to understand map that visually owes a debt to its previous colonial owners - the UK - via the London Tube map.
Have we been there? No (the airport by itself doesn’t count).
What we like: Clean and elegant, even with the bilingual requirements of the map. Some unusual but lovely colours for some of the routes, especially the teal used for the Airport Express line.
What we don’t like: The light rail network, which comprises some 69 stations, is relegated to a few random-looking lines with only stations that interchange with the MTR shown. I’m not sure what the meaning of the coloured marks inside interchange stations is: some are straight, others are curved, others cross over each other. An indication of platform layout, perhaps… but it all seems a bit unfathomable to me without any indication in the map’s legend.
Our rating: Simple, clean, effective. An excellent map. Four stars.
(Source: MTR website)