Photo: Old London Underground Northern Line Map

Taken at the London Transport Museum’s Acton Depot. I absolutely love how the newer additions to the map have been literally riveted onto the old map – no stickers here! The presence of both British Rail symbols and an early Docklands Light Rail logo seems to place the final iteration of this map somewhere in the period from 1991 (when the Bank DLR station opened) and 1997 (when BR was totally privatised), although I suspect the map itself had been in use far longer than that.

Source: andywalton7/Flickr

Submission – Official Map: Bucharest Metro

Submitted by ssjmaz, who says:

M4 is under construction, M5 and M6 are future plans.

I’m planing on making a map of my own that is fully diagrammatic, will submit it when it’s ready.

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Transit Maps says:

I look forward to seeing ssjmaz’s map, because it will almost certainly be better than this tired old thing. In this modern day and age, it absolutely baffles me that transit agencies put tiny, poorly-rendered JPGs, GIFs and PNGs of their system maps online. This one measures just 785px by 683px, and is quite difficult to read – both because of the small font size and the awful rendering of the type. PDF is nearly universal now and allows users to easily zoom in as close as they need to read the map. At least this is better than an embedded Flash map, I guess…

The map itself is pretty dire, with route lines wobbling around all over the place. The future M4, M5 and M6 lines have just been drawn in to fit around the existing map, which leads to strangely angled lines and awkward shapes almost everywhere.

Accessibility and main line interchange icons for the stations also seem to have been put wherever they can fit, while the grey and white zone background is really quite distracting. It’s also a little misleading, as it just shows districts around the city – not fare zones as one might reasonably expect on a transit map.

Some of the labels seem to have little relationship with their station marker, especially on the purple M6 line. At least most of the labels are set horizontally, although this makes the one outlier – Expoziţiei station – stand out like a sore thumb. Sub-par typography and a couple of really dull legends round out a pretty sad effort.

Our rating: An absolute minimum of effort expended here. One-and-a-half stars.

1.5 Stars

Source: Official Metrorex website

Historical Map: 1985 “London Connections” Map Uncovered at Embankment Station
Great photos of this fantastic old map, discovered in place (presumably during the Bakerloo/Northern Line station refurbishment works) and now protected in situ by some rather ugly chicken wire. Note that the loop at the western end of the Piccadilly Line to Heathrow Terminal 4 is still under construction, which had been completed by the time this version of the map (May 2013, 3 stars) came out in 1988.
Sources: Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3, Photo 4 – All: jaggers/Flickr Historical Map: 1985 “London Connections” Map Uncovered at Embankment Station
Great photos of this fantastic old map, discovered in place (presumably during the Bakerloo/Northern Line station refurbishment works) and now protected in situ by some rather ugly chicken wire. Note that the loop at the western end of the Piccadilly Line to Heathrow Terminal 4 is still under construction, which had been completed by the time this version of the map (May 2013, 3 stars) came out in 1988.
Sources: Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3, Photo 4 – All: jaggers/Flickr Historical Map: 1985 “London Connections” Map Uncovered at Embankment Station
Great photos of this fantastic old map, discovered in place (presumably during the Bakerloo/Northern Line station refurbishment works) and now protected in situ by some rather ugly chicken wire. Note that the loop at the western end of the Piccadilly Line to Heathrow Terminal 4 is still under construction, which had been completed by the time this version of the map (May 2013, 3 stars) came out in 1988.
Sources: Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3, Photo 4 – All: jaggers/Flickr Historical Map: 1985 “London Connections” Map Uncovered at Embankment Station
Great photos of this fantastic old map, discovered in place (presumably during the Bakerloo/Northern Line station refurbishment works) and now protected in situ by some rather ugly chicken wire. Note that the loop at the western end of the Piccadilly Line to Heathrow Terminal 4 is still under construction, which had been completed by the time this version of the map (May 2013, 3 stars) came out in 1988.
Sources: Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3, Photo 4 – All: jaggers/Flickr

Historical Map: 1985 “London Connections” Map Uncovered at Embankment Station

Great photos of this fantastic old map, discovered in place (presumably during the Bakerloo/Northern Line station refurbishment works) and now protected in situ by some rather ugly chicken wire. Note that the loop at the western end of the Piccadilly Line to Heathrow Terminal 4 is still under construction, which had been completed by the time this version of the map (May 2013, 3 stars) came out in 1988.

Sources: Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3, Photo 4 – All: jaggers/Flickr

So Just Who Made That Map Anyway?

So here’s where I get all crotchety and talk about one of my pet peeves – the lack of attribution to the original source of a map. This problem isn’t just limited to Tumblr, but it’s especially annoying here because Tumblr makes it so darn easy to attribute properly. As a curator who meticulously attributes the source of everything I post on Transit Maps, this behaviour annoys me no end.

So, here’s this great map of rail transportation in the Netherlands, but it’s presented without any context whatsoever. Who made it and why? Is it official or made by an enthusiast? Providing a link back to the original creator of the map not only allows readers to explore the map further, but – more importantly – gives credit where it is due. Someone out there has put a great deal of effort into this map and they deserve acknowledgement for their work. As a creator of maps, I know that I appreciate proper attribution to my website or this blog.

Not knowing where a map originated is barely an excuse to not attribute these days. Chrome allows you to right-click on an picture and choose “Search Google for this Image”, or you can easily go to images.google.com and upload it, or you can use Tineye… from there, it took me less than 10 seconds to track down the original source, which is Spoorkaart 2014. This is the 7th edition of this unofficial map, produced in conjunction with treinreiziger.nl, a Dutch train information and booking site. See, isn’t that interesting stuff to know? And if you want, you can head to the site and download your own PDF!

Interestingly, this version of the map (which seems to have been scraped from Reddit) has been stripped of its legend, title and treinreiziger.nl branding. It’s also been pretty poorly rendered, with some ugly font substitutions occurring when compared to the actual map (The actual map uses News Gothic, while this version uses what looks like Myriad). In other words: it doesn’t look like the creator intended and has removed all the features that could potentially identify the original source, which is doubly insulting.

Source:  Spoorkaart 2014 website

maptitude1:

This map shows the rail network of The Netherlands.

Fantasy Map: London Tube Teleporter

Absolutely brilliant. Repurposing the Underground roundel as a selector dial for destinations is hilarious, as is the fact that you can only use a Visa card (the only credit card accepted at the Olympic Games). Apart from Lord’s, I’m not sure I think that much of the destinations available, though…

Source: John Gulliver/Flickr

Submission – Unofficial Map: Regional Rail Network for Rennes, Brittany

Submitted by favrebulle, who says:

This is a proposed regional rail network for Rennes, Brittany. The map is my own work. The network revolves around a central Ring. Lines come in two types. Main lines are in bright colors, and circulate all day, every day, twice an hour. Secondary lines are in pastel colors and run during rush hours, or during special events for the Expo Arena line. Intercity and high-speed services (not detailed) are the grey, outern lines. The stations are simple, white indentation in the lines. Texts come in only two angles. Finally, the map is in breton.

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Transit Maps says:

Stylistically, this map immediately brought to mind this commuter rail map from Madrid (June 2013, 3 stars), which similarly features a central ring and sharply angled corners.

I do like the interesting “half-circle” device used for stations, and the way it changes into a full circle when two lines are present, or a longer “pill” shape for three or more lines. It’s a logical transformation and is used effectively throughout.

Less successful are the pastel colours used for the rush hour services – they’re too visually recessive (the light yellow S24 line almost disappears completely), and S21 and S22 look way too similar to each other. Something that could help here would be to link the route designations in the legend to the lines on the map, so that it’s easier to work out where each line begins and ends.

Our rating: A nicely distinctive diagrammatic style of map that just needs a little more work on the usability side to make it really successful. Two-and-a-half stars!

2.5 Stars

Question: Differentiating Local/Express Services

An anon asks:

What is the best way to display two different lines that share a section if one acts as a local service and the other as an express service? I wanted to use ticks to represent the stations on this map, is there any approach to this problem that allows me to use it?

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Transit Maps says:

The solution here is best summed up by the words of the great Massimo Vignelli, who distilled the very essence of transit diagram design down to one little quote:

“A different color for each line, a dot for every station. No dot, no station. Very simple,” 

And if you’re using dots as your station markers, it really is that easy, as shown by Vignelli’s own New York Subway map (the 2008 version is shown above), where the express patterns of the 2 and 3 compared to the 1, for example, are easily distinguishable.

Using ticks as station markers does make things a little trickier. You’ll note that the London Underground map separates routes that run along the same track but have different stopping patterns, so there’s absolutely no chance of confusion. I show the section of the Metropolitan Line and Jubilee Line above, but it also occurs on the Picadilly/District Lines west of Earl’s Court. If the route lines touched each other, a tick could be interpreted as belonging to all the lines at that station, so the London approach really is for the best, I feel.

Submission - Crowd-Sourced Colour #2: Stockholm Metro

Submitted by Henning, who says:

Similarly to Vienna’s open vote for the new subway line, Stockholm is doing the same thing. Although one could argue that it’s not really a new line (3 stations), what I find interesting is that this will be the fourth color on the subway map. So after R,G,B, what color do you pick!?

Here is the link: www.linjefarg.se (linjefarg basically means line color)

Thanks and keep up the great work!

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Transit Maps says:

Looks like everyone wants to get in on the “vote for the new line colour” action! What I find interesting about the three colours that Stockholm has put up for review — pink, yellow and purple — is how shockingly bright they all are in comparison to the fairly subdued red, green and blue of the existing map. Because of that, I’d probably be a bit of a traditionalist and pick yellow.

Which colour would you pick?

Unofficial Map: KLM Airlines European Routes Map by Veenspace 

Submitted by Veenspace, who says:

I made this map inspired by a recent CityLab post on airline maps. It posed that most maps are geographically accurate but hard to read, and that the maps that do go for minimalism lose any geographical component. There’s a balance between the two that I wanted to achieve: readable & geographical. I chose to design it like a circuit board, with KLM’s central hub as the CPU.

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Transit Maps says:

The circuit board conceit is perhaps a little gimmicky, with limited applications in the real world (an ad in a computer magazine?), but there’s no doubt that this is nicely executed work. I haven’t always been the greatest fan of subway map-styled airline route maps, far preferring the grandeur of the great arcs used in traditional airline maps, but this strikes a better balance than most, and has a definite aesthetic appeal of its own. Whimsical fun!

Crowd-Sourced Colours: Vienna turns to the people to decide what colour the new U5 line should be

Submitted by Joshua Davidowitz, who says:

Love your blog and always look forward to the next posting! Anyways, I read that in Vienna, the Wiener Linien are doing a vote of whether the new U5 metro line should be in turquoise or pink.

The two options are shown here – turquoise and pink (PDF links), which are also linked to on the above voting page.

What do you think?

As for me, I would go for turquoise over pink. The pink I find most confusing where it terminates at Karlsplatz and there is the transfer to the U1. If it was somewhere else on the line network it might work, but here it seems to blend in to the red of the U1. If they wanted pink as a line color, I might switch it to the U6 (brown).

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Transit Maps says:

Now this is the kind of crowd-sourcing that I like: allowing the people of Vienna to have a say and feel involved in the process of the building of a new U-Bahn line. That said, each colour has its pros and cons for me. As Joshua says, the pink could potentially cause some confusion at Karlsplatz where it meets the Red U1, but pink has much better visual contrast where the U5 runs alongside the green U4.

Interestingly, both colours have very similar values when previewed in Photoshop using colour-blindness proofing settings, so there’s not much of a difference either way there.

In the end, I’d probably opt for turquoise, simply because it helps keep a balance between warm and cool colours on the map.

What do you think (answers enabled)?