7 subway maps that will take you nowhere

Maps of all types are obviously used for direction, however, the subway/transit-style map has become popular for visually communicating complex networks of information and for illustrating trends.

Astrid Dawson, leader of the HERE cartography design team, explained in a previous post on the challenge of designing digital maps, all maps start with the field of data. “And that’s just numbers: a combination of points, set into different categories,” she said.

Applying this to non-travel data, utilizing the recognizable and relatable format of a transit map, simplifies complicated concepts or systems or shows aggregate popularity and impact.

It’s also much more fun than looking at a long list of statistics.

For instance:

1. Criss-Crossing: American students often dream of a summer in Europe, yet others, of a good old-fashioned cross-country road trip. That’s usually planned with 3 choices – northern, middle or southern route. You could never use this illustration to get there, but Australian graphic designer/blogger Cameron Booth, offers a view of “every single current and signed Interstate Highway and U.S. Highway in the contiguous 48 states.”


image credit: Cameron Booth

2. Watershed Moment: If you are more into waterways than roadways, CityLab covered Wisconsin-based cartographer Daniel Huffman’s illustrations of America’s river systems in order to provide an understanding of the watershed’s reach.


image credit: Daniel Huffman

3. Another World: Fantasy worlds are often quite elaborate and the creation of fantasy maps has become a business. Game of Thrones fans have created guides and character charts to keep track, and for his part, graphic designer Michael Tyznik has mapped out rail transit for Westeros. Yours for a minimum of $30.00


image credit: Michael Tyznik

4. Going with the flow: If Game of Thrones has you on edge and you want to understand its affect on your health, or you are just more into real life, Sam Loman illustrates the central nervous system, which can be turned into art for the wall or wear.


image credit: Sam Lohman

5. Looking ahead: We can already look back 5 years to see if Ross Dawson’s 40-year glimpse into the future of mega trends such as aging, sustainability, debt and urbanization (to name a few) is trending according to the vision he created in 2010.


image credit: Ross Dawson

6. Underwater Internet: Some of what is making the above trends possible is the ubiquity of connectivity. This “schematic shows a simplification of the global network of submarine fiber-optic cables,” which carry data across the world.


image credit: Information Geographies at the Oxford Internet Institute

7. Digital Shift: The digital world — in which all of these maps live — calls for a new way of working when it comes to marketing, one in which business functions have to redefine their relationships and one where technology plays a core role. Gartner, Inc. brings this to life showing the connections that can lead to opportunity.


image credit: Gartner, Inc.

What is your favorite subway map — either for data presentation or actual direction? What would you like to see illustrated in this format that you can’t find?

Source: HERE 360 Blog

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