Seoul Metropolitan Subway

There we go.

There we go.

The current Seoul Subway maps (there are several) are terrible, and I didn’t think the design language (i.e. signage) used in the stations would lend itself to something that looks good, so this thing was built from scratch.

I realized I liked the design language I used for this thing enough that I wanted to use it again. Probably not as successful (too much white space) but it ain’t bad, neither.

This was supposed to be as future-proofed as possible but I had a hard time finding complete information–in English–about what the Seoul transport people wanted to build by 2020. F’rinstance, I don’t know if the Gimpo subway line’s supposed to have seven, eight, or ten stations, nor do I know what their names are. Also it sounds like they’re planning on building like ten LRT lines by the end of this decade, only one or two of which were drawn on this map. So it probably won’t be accurate by the time 2020 actually rolls around. On the other hand, this is the only map I’m aware of which actually shows the two DMZ trains.

Other good Seoul maps: Jug Cerovic’s (I may not be fond of his standardization project but his Seoul map is excellent) and (once again) ZEROPERZERO’s.

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Boston MTA Vision

Oh, if only.

Oh, if only.

Sources: Rand McNally’s 1924 railroad atlas (which has been an invaluable resource for these things, believe you me) and SPUI’s map of the Boston streetcar network as of 1940.

I’ve been wanting to get this one out of my head for a while, but it took a while for this one to fully, like, metastasize, mostly because the original design language I was using was giving me a headache. The MBTA rapid transit map, historically, is one of the most beautiful examples of minimalism in transit map design ever made, so I wanted to show as much respect as possible for that long and storied tradition (that said, the current MBTA map is, alas, pretty terrible). I originally wanted to draw this thing in the style of those old MBTA maps but that proved very unworkable very fast, largely because it’s not a good design when you have multiple routes operating on the same line. But I still wanted something stark and simple and angular (and which didn’t rip off Vignelli, because this is Boston and that would be sacrilege), so I ripped off the Stockholm T-Bane design instead.

(Also I associate bold stripes of color set against a white background with baseball, so the stripes of red, orange, green, and blue seemed appropriate for the capital of Red Sox Nation.)

One look at this and you’ll understand precisely why the Atlantic Avenue El (the gray “E” line, for Everett) was not long for this world.

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Yet Another Strip Map



Inspiration. Thought about exploring this idea a little more. Maybe next time I’ll do something that’d actually appear on a platform.

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Transit Map To-Do List: Aug. 2014

For me.


  • Chicago L (include legend & commuter rail routes)


  • Seoul Metropolitan Subway
  • Nederlandse Spoorwegen
  • Rhine-Ruhr S-Bahn and NR-W Regional-Express & Regionalbahn
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Greater Tokyo Rail Map

This thing is huge.

This thing is huge. There are probably a hundred thousand mistakes.


As anyone who’s been there knows, Tokyo has the most byzantine railway network in the world. Thirteen subway lines, thirty-something JR lines, at least as many private commuter rail lines, and a half-ton of people movers, monorails, and streetcars, all connected in a maze of terminals and through services designed specifically to make the amateur cartographer’s head spin. This system is fundamentally unmappable.

Continue reading

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An Interesting Failure

Probably wishful thinking.

Probably wishful thinking.

This was an attempt to create a future map of the Washington Metro, and in some respects, an update to this juicy bit of speculative goodness. (You could prob’ly tell, what with the purple streetcar lines, the brown circle line, & the Blue Line to Nat’l Harbor.) Other stuff:

  • Airport Line is light green because Japan.
  • Wishful thinking: extensions to Centreville, Fort Belvoir, and Fort Meade.
  • Circle Line & express tracks in Arlington comes from WMATA’s long-term plan.
  • Streetcar lines in the District all come from DDOT’s 37-mile long-term plan.
  • Trains can terminate at Dulles Airport. I’m told there’s supposed to be a pocket track and yard just after that station.

I call this one an interesting failure for several reasons:

  • Had a lot of trouble fitting everything into the diamond delineated by DC, Arlington, and Alexandria. In case it wasn’t obvious. You’ll notice the south end of the diamond’s been hacked off completely.
  • Learned a lot about the limitations of this particular aesthetic, i.e. it’s great for simpler systems but not so great for really complex ones. Speaking of which…
  • Including the DC Streetcar was probably a mistake, considering this map is supposed to help me go from Point A to Point B on the Metro. I only threw it in because I had the Purple Line and the Columbia Pike Streetcar, and I felt obligated.

Just something to ruminate on, and maybe a jumping-off point for a later exploration.

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An Experiment

houston metroHere’s the METRORail long-term plan rendered in the style of the DC Metro map, because why not.

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