My Highways of the USA map got a great write up today by Kenneth Field as part of his “MapCarte” series, where he writes about influential and beautiful maps: one map a day for a whole year. My map was No. 273 in the series, and is one of the very few schematic transit maps featured so far in the series (MapCarte No.1, way back at the beginning of the year was Beck’s original 1933 Underground Map).
I’ll also note that Kenneth is definitely not a huge fan of anything he perceives as an unoriginal Tube Map clone, so to rise above the cliche in his eyes is definitely noteworthy.
Go and read the review yourself, but I will close with this quote from it, which sums up everything that’s important about my map to me in just a few sentences:
…the map is a harmonious work, that while containing a strong nod to the subway genre, makes use of the style and form to support a clear design requirement. The attention to detail is meticulous which illustrates the importance of ensuring every last element of your map is given due consideration.
Visual harmony + Design that supports function + Attention to detail = my perfect map.
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 The map actually took so long to complete that the template map was out of date by the time I finished, with new highways brought into operation across the country!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)!
Fantasy Map: Highways of the Netherlands Diagram by AS Veen
Inspired by (but not derivative of) my own Interstates as Subway Map, here’s a nice diagrammatic take on the “A-Road” highway network of the Netherlands. It’s a relatively simple system, so the one-colour approach used here works quite well. It also illustrates the European tendency for major highways to bypass or loop around a city, rather than putting an Interstate right through the middle of downtown, as so often happens here in the U.S.
Design-wise, the map is nice and clean and easy to follow: the longer highways have reassurance markers placed along their length to keep you on track. The urban areas are called out with a minimum of fuss, but help to give valuable context to the road network — however, maybe Maastricht could be included as the obvious “final” major destination of the A2 before it exits the country?
Another interesting excercise here — if up for a challenge! — might be to overlay the European E-Road network on these highways to give a broader pan-European context to the network as well. For example, the E-19 route starts in Amsterdam, follows the A4 through The Hague, onto the A13 and A20 past Rotterdam, before heading south on the A16 into Belgium. The other two-digit E-Roads in the Netherlands are the E-22, E-25, E-30, E-31, E-34 and the E-35.
Overall, this is a lovely effort that simplifies the highways of the Netherlands down to their simplest elements, and looks good while doing it.
Last preview of this before the first draft is released! Soon!
(If you’re looking at this on your Tumblr dash, click on the image to view the GIF bigger!)
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!
With my permission, my “Interstates as Subway Map" is featured on the cover of a new report, Moving Off the Road: A State-by-State Analysis of the National Decline in Driving, released today by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG).
Given the subject matter of the report, my image becomes a nice little visual metaphor, don’t you think?
"Super Highways" Infographic Map by Christian Tate
Rather lovely subway map-styled infographic/illustration showing “six of the world’s most extreme roads and the places they connect”. Commissioned for Mazda’s Zoom Zoom e-magazine.
(Source: Christian Tate’s website)
Transit Maps will be taking a short break to observe Thanksgiving - I’ll be back on deck on Monday morning with new stuff to share. If you’re travelling over the holiday weekend — by transit or otherwise — stay safe!
To keep you entertained, I’ll leave you with a screenshot of progress on my latest subway map-styled project: Interstates and US Highways together on one monumental map (and I’m not kidding: this thing is currently 150 inches across!). When complete, I’ll be breaking it down into smaller maps of individual states and/or regions, but I’m doing it as one map to start with to ensure consistency. This is the Pacific Northwest, and it’s substantially complete apart from tweaking colours, and coastline and state borders, which I’ll be adding at the end.