Great Big Transit Map: Barcelona Edition
Simply enormous map at the Estació de Barcelona-Sants, showing both the Metro and commuter rail networks. It’s made up of twenty-eight square screens, each of which looks pretty big in their own right!
Unofficial Map: “Barcelona Tourist Guide” Metro Map
As you should know, official transit maps are copyrighted materials. Commercial reproduction of the map by third parties normally requires permission and payment of a licence fee — often a hefty one.
A lot of people don’t want to pay that fee, so they design their own version of the map instead. This can result in maps that are eerily similar to the official one, nicely designed but different maps, or horrendous monstrosities. Guess which category this map falls into?
Have we been there? Yes. And with the official map (October 2011, 4.5 stars), the Metro is super easy to use.
What we like: At least the lines are the right colours.
What we don’t like: Sooooo ugly. Call-out boxes for every station waste space and look terrible. The worst example is Trinitat Nova station, which has two call-out boxes, one for Lines 3 and 11 and a separate one for Line 4, because the designer couldn’t work out how to have the three different line colours in the background of one call-out box.
Which way is north? Barcelona is actually oriented about halfway between the cardinal points, so giving some sort of directional indication on the Metro map is very important. The official map includes major roads, the coastline and a north pointer to help out: this map gives you nothing at all. What appears to be north here is actually north-east.
The integrated tram system is missing entirely, as there’s simply no room for it to fit. There’s actually a second map on the website for this system, where the main Metro map is tinted back without labels and the tram system is slapped on over the top.
Our rating: Hideous and confusing. I thought long and hard about giving this a zero, but surely there’s still something worse than this out there.
(Source: Barcelona Tourist Guide)
Not only is this an awesome picture, but it really shows off how the Barcelona Metro map is part of a greater, unified, wayfinding scheme. Here, on one panel, we’ve got a nice big map, information about the Metro, a complete cross-referenced list of stations, and a local area map showing the transportation options around the current station. Wonderful stuff.
Orientation - Barcelona
Love this photo of a giant backlit system map in Barcelona.
Find The Way
(Source: a l e x . k/Flickr)
Photo: Metro de Barcelona
(Source: Matthew Wilkinson/Flickr)
Photo: Barcelona Wayfinding Signage
A excellent example of how strong transit map design is carried across to other elements of the user experience: here, strong and easily understood wayfinding signage in the Barcelona Metro.
Official Map: Barcelona Metro, 2011
An attractive and easy to follow map with a few unusual features. At first glance, it appears to be a diagrammatic map in the form of the London Underground Diagram, but it’s actually overlaid on a simplified, but accurate street grid, allowing easy reference to the features of the city. Especially prominent is the Avenue Diagonal - a major feature of the city emphasized by excellent design. It also cleverly rotates the map to fit the available space (note that north is not to the top of the page), instead using the coastline as the major reference point. Finally, it shows every form of rail transport used in the city - Metro, tram, commuter rail, funicular and cable car.
Have we been there? Yes
What we like: clean design, integration of all services, markers for multi-line stations give at least some indication of length of walk between lines (the walk between the two furtherest platforms at Passeig de Gracia is looooong!)
What we don’t like: No indication of how ridiculously steep the walk from Leseps or Vallarca stations to Parc Guell is.
Our Rating: 4.5 stars!
Original source: Official Barcelona Metro site