Isometría de la casa de la familia Simpson
Submission: Official Map - Metro de Medellin, Columbia
Submitted by Daniel Echeverri, who says:
Medellin (Colombia) transit map. Downloaded from the official website of Metro de Medellin. It shows Metro Lines, Articulated Buses lines (Metroplus) and Aerial Tram lines (Metro Cable)
Transit Maps says:
Medellin’s transit system is fascinating because it’s one of the first places in the world to implement aerial gondolas as part of a mass transit system. Other cities may have gondolas and aerial trams, but they’re almost always deployed as tourist attraction, like London’s Emirates Air Line. Medellin’s CableMetro reaches up to areas clinging to the sides of the steep valley that the city lies in that are unreachable by traditional forms of transit, linking seamlessly to the main Metro lines at the bottom of the cables.
However, the map’s not anywhere as interesting as the system. It looks like it draws its inspiration from the Los Angeles Metro map — it has a very similar aesthetic and also uses DIN as its primary font — but it’s nowhere near as well executed as that map, having a whole host of technical issues.
There’s an inexplicable kink in the “K” MetroCable line, while the “L” line just heads off at its own unique angle. Similarly, the “1” bus route has an awful kink as it heads north out of the Industriales interchange station that could easily have been avoided with a little though (making the river slightly wider, perhaps?).
The “1” and “2” bus lines are drawn terribly, with odd gaps between them when they run parallel to each other, and as they go around corners together. Line 2 has “stops” — as opposed to “stations” — indicated by hash marks along part of its route: they’re both way too big and extremely ugly. In contrast, the circular station markers are so small as to almost be invisible. The marker for San Pedro station has a red outline to indicate that it’s currently closed: this is almost impossible to make out.
Finally, the lines under construction are very poorly drawn, with the dashed lines doubling over each other as the routes go around corners. It’s difficult to tell where the Tranvia Ayacucho (a new streetcar/tram service) ends and the two new MetroCable lines begin, and there’s a whole new set of kinks and weird angles here as well.
Our rating: A fascinating transit system, let down by an extremely average and technically deficient map. Could be so much more. One-and-a-half stars.
(Source: Official Metro de Medillin website)
Official Map: New York/New Jersey Regional Transit Diagram — Full Review
After our first glimpse yesterday, now it’s time for a more in-depth look at this map. Thanks to everyone who sent me a link to the PDF (and there were more than a few of you)!
First things first: this MTA press release confirms that the map was designed by Yoshiki Waterhouse of Vignelli Associates. It’s definitely nice to see that the original creators of the diagram continue to shape its future, rather than being handed off to another design team.
That said, the original source that this map is based off — the 2008 revision of Vignelli’s classic 1970s diagram, as used on the MTA’s “Weekender” service update website — actually creates some problems for this version of the map.
Because the bright primary colours used for the Subway’s many route lines are so much a part of the map’s look (and indeed, the very fabric of the Subway itself, appearing on signage and trains across the entire system) it forces the NJ Transit, PATH and Amtrak routes shown to be rendered in muted pastel tones in order to differentiate them from the Subway. This results in a visual imbalance between the New York and New Jersey sides of the map: cool and muted on the left, bright and bold to the right. I also feel that the PATH lines up to 33rd Street become a little “lost” compared to the adjacent subway lines.
The other result of using pastel route lines is a loss of contrast between all those lines: they all register at a similar visual intensity, making them a little harder to differentiate. Because of the sheer number of lines that have to be shown, some of the NJ Transit routes have lost their “traditional” colour as used on their own official map (Nov. 2011, 1.5 stars). The Bergen County Line is no longer light blue, but the same yellow as the Main Line, while the Gladstone Line now uses the same green as the Morristown Line. Their original colours get redistributed to New Jersey’s light rail lines and Amtrak.
Some people have noticed that the map shows weekday off-peak services and commented that this is useless for the Super Bowl, which is held on a Sunday. However, the map has to be useful for the entire week of Super Bowl festivities, not just game day, so I feel it’s doing the best it can under the circumstances. If it really bothers you, @TheLIRRToday on Twitter has made a quick and dirty version of the map that shows weekend service patterns. As as has been pointed out to me, service on Super Bowl Weekend will be close to that of the weekday peak, so the difference is negligible anyway.
What bothers me is the fact that the football icon has an extra row of laces. NFL balls have eight rows of laces — the icon shows nine.
Our rating: Based on the classic Vignelli diagram. While it remains true to its minimalist roots, it doesn’t reach the heights of its predecessors. The need to integrate so many different routes and services while retaining familiar route colours for the Subway mean that the left half of the map isn’t as visually strong as the right. Still far better than many North American transit maps. It would also make a neat souvenir of a trip to the Super Bowl! Three stars.
(Source: NJ Transit “First Mass Transit Super Bowl" web page — also available on the MTA website)
Historical Map: Diagram of Tube Services, 7:00am, September 28, 1940
Here’s a fantastic historical document — a tube map used by engineers in London to mark out the status of services on the Underground during World War II. By the look of it, this map was updated at least daily, if not even more often, as this date falls squarely within the Blitz — a period where London was bombed for 57 consecutive nights by the Luftwaffe.
The map itself looks like a modified hand-drawn version of H.C. Beck’s 1936 Tube Diagram, with all stations shown as circles and some main line track added as well. The use of the map is simple: a red line along track shows that there is no service along that segment, while a blue circle (seen between Belsize Park and Chalk Farm, for example) indicates the location of an exploded bomb. It would also seem that the circle for a station is also coloured red if it is substantially damaged or destroyed. Most horrifying of all, a red cross marks the location of an unexploded bomb. Notes written in a beautiful, precise hand add detail to these symbols where necessary — “unsafe buildings”, “single tunnel only available for traffic: SB tunnel damaged by bomb”.
Our rating: An incredible historical document that vividly recalls the dangers and horrors faced by Londoners during the Blitz. 5 stars!
Historical Map: Paris Métro, 1913
Yes, another post about the Paris Métro. I’d stop doing it if I stopped finding really interesting maps! This one is from way back in 1913, and is purportedly the first Métro map to use different colours for each of the lines and the first one to have strip plans for each of them as well.
Another thing to note is that this is a mere thirteen years after the Métro opened - and there’s already eight Métro lines, plus the competing Nord-Sud line (which would later become lines 12 and 13). Try doing that with all the alternatives analyses and environmental documentation that would be required today!
Finally, the map features one more remarkable thing: Paris is still entirely encircled by an enormous defensive wall, the Thiers Wall, the last in a series of fortifications around the city. The wall was constructed from 1841-1844 as the “ultimate defense” and demolished between 1919 and 1929 because of utter obsolescence. The location of this wall corresponds exactly to the Boulevard Périphérique of today, and the names of some Métro stations still note the location of gates through the wall - Porte Dauphine, Porte de Champerret, Porte de Bagnolet, Porte des Lilas, Porte de Clignancourt, etc.
Have we been there? Yes, just not in 1913.
What we like: Just an amazing slice of early Métro history. The co-existence of almost obsolete C19th fortifications and cutting-edge early C20th technology is a little mind-blowing, to be honest.
What we don’t like: The map itself is hard work to read, although this is mitigated somewhat by the inclusion of the strip maps for each line.
Our rating: Awesome. 5 stars!
Historical Map: Street Railways, City of Washington, D.C., 1891
As the first segment of the new DC Streetcar on H Street and Benning Road nears completion, here’s a look back at what existed a long, long time ago. As can be seen at this time, no fewer than ten streetcar companies operated in the District. By 1895, Congress authorised consolidation of the companies and the larger, more successful systems bought out the smaller ones.
The map itself is very handsome, with the distinctive grid of the L’Enfant Plan very evident, especially compared to the relatively haphazard development north of “Boundary Street” — now Florida Avenue. Interestingly, the track of the Columbia Company (shown as yellow on the map) runs along H Street from its intersection with Benning Road past today’s Union Station: the exact same route that is nearing completion now, 122 years after this map was drawn up.
More information on the history of streetcars in Washington, DC on Wikipedia.
(Source: Sean Hennessey/Flickr)