My “Highways of the USA” Map Compared to an Actual Map
Here are some fun GIFs that overlay my “Highways” map with the monster Google Maps base map (stitched together in Photoshop from many, many screenshots) that I used as a template. The map actually took so long to complete that the template map was out of date by the time I finished, with new highways brought into operation across the country!
You can see that even though I’ve straightened out and simplified the roads, most of them still follow their actual path pretty closely, and many towns and cities fall almost exactly where they should.
The balancing act between simplification and the need to maintain a certain level of geographical fidelity (to maintain recognisable shapes for all of the states) was definitely the most challenging part of this project. There were quite a few sections that I reworked and refined multiple times to achieve the best result. Sometimes, I had to sketch an area out by hand before doing it in Illustrator, just to get things right in my head first. Other parts required almost no simplification at all: the highways across the Great Plains really do form an almost perfect grid, with great long stretches of almost perfectly straight roads meeting each other at right angles.
Video: Printing the “Highways of the USA” Posters
I’m very pleased to report that full production of the 44″ x 72″ Highways of the United States posters has begun. I expect to have all outstanding orders fulfilled by the end of the week, and we’ll now have the capacity to get to future orders in a much more timely way. I’d like to thank everyone who has ordered so far for their patience as we got this process up and running.
As you can see from the attached video, printing these beasts is quite the epic task: each poster takes about half an hour to run through the printer!
To celebrate this milestone, use coupon code “highways” in the shop to get 10% off your cart total through Memorial Day (Monday, May 26)!
New Map Project: Highways of the United States
At long last, I can finally unveil my (almost) completed map project that i’ve been working on since May 31, 2012. Yes, 2012!
I’ve given plenty of teasers about this project over the last two years, but I still think the final scale of it will amaze you. Not only have I created a map of the contiguous United States that shows every single last active and numbered Interstate Highway and U.S. Route (both two- and three-digit), but I’ve also broken the map down into separate state and regional maps. So far, I’ve made 33 of these maps and there’s another 11 to go to complete the set. There aren’t 48 state maps because some of them are just too small to show individually (I’m looking at you, Rhode Island!). These are included in regional maps like New England or Chesapeake (Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and DC).
Posters in a variety of sizes are available in my brand new shop. Orders taken up to the end of the month of April are pre-orders; I expect to begin shipping in the first week of May.
Comments, reblogs, likes, and shares are appreciated to spread the word! Let me know what you think, or let me know if you find any glaring errors.
Happy New Year from Transit Maps!
See you in 2014… here’s a final progress image for the year of the Interstates and U.S. Routes map: everything in the shaded areas is just about done, just parts of Ohio and Kentucky to finalise! Cincinnati is being… difficult.
All the best,
Work in Progress: Simplified Map of All Interstates and U.S. Highways
Map. Almost. Finished.
Seriously. Just a few problem cities to sort out and a couple hundred more labels to add (there’s over 3,000 named places on this map so far!) and the first draft is done. I’ve been working on this for about a year-and-a-half now, but it’s so worth it: this map is the most beautiful piece I’ve ever created.
Speaking of working out problems on grid paper, here’s one I’ve just done as I attempt to make sense of the routing of Interstates and U.S. Highways around Indianapolis. This was making no sense at all on the computer: I worked out an approach in half an hour on paper.
I’m very pleased to announce that my Interstates as a Subway Map and U.S. Highways as a Subway Map posters are once again available for purchase directly through my website this holiday season.
I’ve even made some revisions to the Interstate map to bring it up to date. These include the addition of the brand new Interstate 2 in Texas, a new segment of I-49 in Missouri and a new section of I-74 in North Carolina.
The posters are 36” wide by 24” deep, and are once again superbly printed by Wallblank. I’ve been working with them for four years now, and they always do a great job for me. They’re ready to get printing, so orders will be on their way to you quickly!
As previously, each poster is available individually for just $39 plus shipping — but you can also order a Combo Pack: one of each poster for just $68 plus shipping (a $10 saving).
Please visit my personal site to place your order.
Please reblog to spread the word!
Here’s a new preview of my Highways project to round out the old year. Last time, I showed an overview of most of the western United States: this time I’m zooming way in and showing a selection of smaller cities.
My decision to include all Interstate highways (even tiny spur lines) is having a very interesting effect. The small cities shown here — which on my previous Interstate and US Route maps were all rendered as a single dot at the intersection of roads — are having to be plotted with a startling degree of detail and accuracy to make the junctions between all the roads make sense.
Shown here are Boise, ID; Lincoln, NE; Duluth, MN; Sioux City, IA; Las Vegas, NV; and Salt Lake City, UT, each of which presented their own challenges. Of these, I’m most proud of Sioux City: finding a way to show the short concurrency between US-20, US-75 and the spur Interstate 129 as they cross the Missouri River to I-29 on one bridge, while also showing that US-77 splits from US-75 and crosses the river on a separate bridge to terminate in Sioux City was quite a challenge. Finding a solution that was also aesthetically pleasing and simple to understand was a bonus.
Sometimes I wonder what I’m getting myself into with this project. On my previous road maps, there were maybe five to ten “difficult” junctions like these … but there are multitudes of these small cities on this map, and we’re not even talking about complex “spaghetti junction” cities like New York, the Twin Cities, or Dallas/Fort Worth, to name a few! One at a time, that’s what I keep telling myself…
Sneak Peek: Los Angeles
This project has been ruminating in my head for a while, but I’ve finally got going. Very early days, but the look is starting to come together. How is this project different to my previous Interstate and U.S Highway paps? You’ll see… think bigger.