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
This map shows the rail network of The Netherlands.
Submission - Lukas’ HSR Map Redrawn Digitally by Isaac Fischer
Hi Cameron! This map is in response to the map you posted by Lukas, age 12. I thought that Lukas’s map was quite interesting - the network reminded me of Alfred Twu’s high-speed rail map from last year, and the style was remarkably similar to that of my own hand-drawn maps. However, I thought that the map should not have stopped at a hand-drawn sketch, and so I took a few hours drawing up this map in OmniGraffle. I was hoping that you could pass this map on to Lukas, and I hope that it encourages him to invest in a drawing program to help him in his future cartographic endeavors. (Maybe he could ask for OmniGraffle for his birthday or for Christmas? It’s in about the right price range, although it’s only for Mac, and I know from experience that it’s easy to use even at age 12.)
Transit Maps says:
a faithful rendition of Lucas’ vision that I hope he enjoys seeing! The only difference I see is that Lucas showed the Appalachian line as two separate routes from beginning to end, instead of one line that branches to Detroit or Chicago. And I think his original Columbia Rail logo was meant to represent a high speed train, windows, doors and all.
Submission – Future/Fantasy High-Speed Rail Map of North America by Lukas (age 12)
Hi, my name is Lukas and I am 12 years old. I love to read your blog and other mapping blogs. I was looking online and i found a map of a hi-speed rail system for America designed by the government. I thought the system’s design was horrible, because it was made of isolated corridors and networks that were in no way connected to one another and had too many stations for smaller towns like Millbrae, California and Bakersfield, California. I drew this map of a made-up interconnected hi-speed rail system for the US and Canada. Average speeds would be around 180 mph, while top speeds would be 220 mph. I got my inspiration from the government map and my own travels on the TGV and Eurostar in France ( I am half-french ). Please rate the map and system, I think it is one of the best rail maps i have ever drawn!
Note: the map is slightly discolored, the Colonial ( east coast ) route is yellow and the Big Sky Zephyr ( Chicago to Seattle ) route is an orange-yellow color.
Transit Maps says:
Lukas becomes the youngest contributor to the site with this great hand-drawn map of his vision for high-speed rail in North America. He’s certainly set his sights high, with lines all the way across the USA and all the way up through Alaska to Fairbanks and through Canada up to Edmonton.
Lukas notes that the other high-speed rail maps for the US that he’s seen break things up into smaller unconnected corridors. Unfortunately, this is probably the only way that any sort of high-speed rail will ever be constructed here. The vast distances across the country, low ridership and the ease of air travel all conspire against long-distance HSR. France, by comparison, is much smaller. A trip from Paris to Nîmes in the south of France takes around three hours by TGV and covers a distance of some 400 miles – which is only about the same as the distance between Portland, Oregon and Boise, Idaho.
However, I have to say that I love this map: it’s creative, fun and well-drawn. Drawing a map like this by hand will put Lukas in good stead if he ever decides to try and make a map using a computer – it’s often a great idea to sketch things out first.
I particularly love the awesome names Lukas has used for his routes: some of them are very evocative of the areas they serve – the Fjordrunner up to Alaska is my favourite, while Big Sky Zephyr and Princess Alberta are positively poetic.
I’m not going to give this map a rating out of 5 – it’s not really possible to compare a hand-drawn map to professionally-made transit maps – but I will say that I think Lukas has shown great creativity, critical thinking and solid design skills with this map and should definitely keep making them. I look forward to seeing more!
"Discover Japan" Map of Japanese Rail Routes, May 2012
A handsome diagrammatic map of rail services throughout Japan, this one from an issue of the “Discover Japan” magazine (Vol. 21, Issue 4) that seemed to deal mainly with seeing Japan by train.
Without the benefit of a translation for the map’s legend, I’d guess that the thick green lines are Shinkansen lines, blue ones are regional trains and brown lines are local/other services (Update: @suldrew has let me know that it’s Green = Shinkansen, Blue = JR Rail routes, Brown = Other non-JR Rail routes).
Some of the route lines are a little unnecessarily wiggly for my liking, but there’s no doubt that this is a very accomplished piece of map design. Cleverly implemented insets for the greater Tokyo area and other islands make very effective use of the space on the page. I also really like the subtle wave pattern in the ocean/sea areas of the map, and the adorable little icon representing Mount Fuji.
Related: This isometric map of JR West rail services, one of my favourite transit maps ever!
Official Map: Isometric JR West System Map
I’m not sure if I’ve ever been so completely, madly and totally in love with a transit map as I am with this. A giant, sprawling, isometric representation of much of Japan showing JR Group railway lines. The map is produced by the JR West company, and its operating area is shown in full detail within the green area (apart from the heavily urbanised areas around Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe, where — wisely — not all stations are shown). Connecting services and routes operated outside the JR West area are also shown, but in less detail — only major stations along the routes are indicated. Shinkansen lines are light blue, JR West main line routes are dark blue (main line routes outside their operating area match the company that operates in that area - red for JR Kyushu, for example), while urban routes seem to follow their established colour-coding.
As can be seen from the two detail images from the area around Osaka, there’s both an English and Japanese version of the map. The Japanese version is arguably more effective because of the in-built ability to set the text vertically, but the English version isn’t half bad either. I particularly like the way the line names have been set to conform to the isometric grid — a very nice design touch.
Our rating: I like to imagine that this is the world map from some incredible railroad-building computer game. 5 stars!
(Source: Official JR West website)
Fantasy Map: United States High Speed Rail System
Submitted by thethingtobomb, who says:
Obviously this potential US High Speed rail system has some layout problems, but the map itself is intriguing. What’s your opinion?
Transit Maps says:
The problem with this map is that it’s based on incredibly optimistic projections of HSR in the United States (I believe the technical term for this is a “pipe dream”). Back in 2009, there was a big push for high-speed rail and it seemed that everyone was getting behind it — hence, all the routes shown here.
Cue the economic downturn and suddenly things don’t look so rosy. HSR is expensive.
Of everything shown here, only the incredibly controversial California High Speed Rail is getting anywhere near construction. If I remember right, Florida explicitly rejected Federal grant money for HSR there, and I know for a fact there’s almost no funding in Oregon.
Of current routes, only the Northeast Corridor is taking baby steps towards becoming a true high-speed corridor: the Acela Express barely qualifies at its highest speed, and there’s plenty of sections of track where it has to operate at slower speeds.
In short, HSR has a long way to go before acceptance and implementation in the United States, meaning maps like this remain strictly in the “fantasy” category.
Design-wise, the map is functional enough, although the font used is pretty ghastly, in my opinion.
Leaving aside the politics and cost for a minute, this is actually a pretty darn nice map. Attractive and informational. Drawing the “Super Express” and “Express” routes as dead straight lines definitely emphasises the idea of speed and direct connections between points. Long Island looks a little weird, though…