"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)
Boston MBTA Green Lne Average Weekday Traffic (2010) by Barrett Lane
Wednesday’s post, Subterranean Veins of Europe, and its discussion of design choices distorting data reminded me of this map/graph sent to me by Barrett Lane last year. At first glance, this is a really neat and cleverly devised concept: the ridership numbers for each station on Boston’s Green Line are presented in the form of a stylised map of the lines, with vertical bars representing those numbers. It looks great, there’s some solid data behind the graphic, and the visual conceit is very appropriate.
However, there’s one major flaw that — for me — stops this graphic from being a total success. Barrett has used three different vertical scales for his graphs, which prevents rapid visual comparison between numbers (which one might say is the whole point of graphical presentation of data).
The same height represents 5,000 riders on the “B” and “C” branches, 4,000 riders on the “D” and “E” branches, and 20,000 on the main trunk line. The graphic would be far more effective if the bars for the trunk line stations towered above those of the branch lines, don’t you think?
(Source: Barrett Lane)
Subterranean Veins of Europe
Here’s an interesting “map” of Europe’s subway systems that was originally featured in a weekly cultural supplement to Milan’s Corriere Della Sera newspaper. The map looks fantastic, and allows all sorts of comparisons between the underground rail systems of Europe, from cost of tickets (cleverly shown as a blue ring of differing thicknesses: the thicker the ring, the more expensive a ticket is), users per day, total length of each system and even a simple chronological ordering of each line opening for the larger systems. I especially like the length comparisons to other long things in Europe at the bottom right.
The English translations are somewhat imperfect (I’m presuming it read a lot better in the original Italian), but everything is pretty understandable, as a good infographic should be!
However, there is one major flaw with this graphic: the large circles around each city are labelled as “radius”, which leads me to expect that the circle shows the relative geographic size of each system. However, it actually uses the entire system length as the radius, which is almost entirely pointless and greatly exaggerates the relative size of the systems. For example, London’s “radius” is shown as a massive 402km (250 miles), when the actual maximum geographical radius is closer to 30km (18.5 miles). Paris’ incredibly dense Metro network (almost all contained within the Boulevard Périphérique) suddenly becomes a huge circle that gives little idea of the system’s tight spacing. It’s a strange design decision that distorts the data underlying the graphic badly, in my opinion.
It would be most remiss of me not to mention this Kickstarter project from Andrew Lynch, also known as vanshnookenraggen. As well as these great posters, he’s also responsible for the fantastic animated history of the MBTA map that I’ve featured before.
Basically, Andrew is seeking funding for bulk printing of these posters (in effect, your pledge to him is a preorder for the poster(s) of your choice). For every $25 you pledge, you get another poster, all the way up to $225 for the entire set of nine.
Printing won’t start until next year, so they won’t arrive for Christmas, but if you like the look of this (and I sure do!), I strongly encourage you to get behind this project and give what you can. $25 for an awesome NYC subway poster sounds like a good deal to me. I’ve personally pledged $50 to the project and hope you can join me.