Index Diversion 1: Northern line strip map

northern line strip map.png

Second of a series, first of a different series.

A strip map of the Northern line, here split into two lines because that’s certainly something that should have been done a long time ago, Battersea extension or no. I realize that it’s just how it’s grown over its history but the Northern line has no business having two central branches. I decided to assign the Euston line the color orange because it’s what fit the most, as determined by a scientific study in the form of that London crayon map I started last year that I have no intention of finishing.

Also included are the London Suburban Metro and the series of abandoned extensions that gave the Northern line it’s name, because, hey, as long as we’re speculating we may as well go the whole hog, yeah?

Well, that was fun. Back to the index. New York map next week.

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Tokyo Map Update 4 & Other Stuff

Thing One: Right now, the ETA for the Tokyo map is sometime in January. But something needs addressing, urgently. This, working on this right here:

Screen Shot 2016-11-29 at 5.50.53 PM.png

…is absolutely mind-numbing. The index will be around 2400 names long, and I’m currently 500 deep, and I can feel my brains leaking out my ears with every new entry. So once every 500 stations I’ll give my brain a stretch break and work on a small, uncomplicated map and/or polish up something I almost finished and then left to rot. On deck after 500 is a strip map of the Northern line (as chosen by the folx who voted in the Twitter poll), but since a nice one already exists, I figured I’d do something interesting with it. After 1,000 there’s a crayon map of the New York subway, an update of the one I did in 2014, that I never quite finished.

Haven’t decided what to do yet after 1,500 and 2,000. If I can’t figure something out I’ll post another Twitter poll or something.

Thing Two: Point is, expect an uncharacteristic spasm of activity here through the end of the year.

Thing Three: A to-do list for the New York map that will probably be up next week:

  • Extend the E to Queens Village.
  • Replace the font for the airport symbol, as my continuing computer troubles stole the original font from me.
  • Extend the 1 to Red Hook, and the complete reconfiguration of South Ferry and the 2/3/4/5 that necessarily implies. Wheeeeeeee. (Yes, that’s a developer’s fantasy and Red Hook will be underwater by the time any such extension would be completed. I…don’t really care.)

What could possibly go wrong?

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Tokyo Map Update 3

Let’s be honest here, I’m writing this so there’s a post this month. Here’s what I got so far:

Screen Shot 2016-10-23 at 10.06.21 PM.png

The routes are about 3/4 done. After that comes water, an index, express-local services (I do have an updated system now, thanks everyone), a grid, (maybe) prefectural borders, and icons for interchanges with the Shinkansen, limited expresses, coach terminals, and ferries. If we’re very, very lucky, the routes should be done by the end of next month and the whole thing should be done by the end of January. This…is going to be the biggest map I’ve ever done, at least 18000 x 18000 in .png form. Here’s, er, here’s hoping it uploads without any problem.

After this comes the crayon map of Los Angeles and a proper future-proofed redesign of the Barcelona Metro map, which looks great at a glance but has some pretty serious flaws and baffling design choices. I also have a request for a map of the Indianapolis bus network, but I want to see what happens with that restructure referendum before I really get started on it.

Posted in maps, tokyo, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

London Overground Strip Map


Finally, an orange menace that doesn’t pose an existential threat to nations. It does, however, pose an existential threat to my eyes.

There are two reasons this map exists. Three. The first is I needed a break from the Tokyo map. The second is this Twitter conversation:

Screen Shot 2016-09-30 at 9.28.23 PM.png

The third is this magnificent CityMetric article about all the different problems of the actual Overground map, some of which could be addressed (no Seven Sisters/South Tottenham interchange, the sword symbols beside Cambridge Heath and London Fields) and some of which couldn’t, thanks to the inherent nature of the map itself (everything running horizontally, the isolation of the Romford to Upminster Line).


  • Most of the time when I draw transit maps my philosophy is “it will be as big as it needs to be,” only occasionally trying to squeeze the map into predetermined proportions, like a square. This, however, is the first time I had to deal with hard-and-fast spatial restrictions.
  • I’m evidently not letting my “assign letters to tube lines and numbers to Overground lines” idea die anytime soon. It was actually quite useful here, for trying to differentiate this twisty orange line from that twisty orange line, especially because…
  • I had an idea for different colors for different Overground lines but it looked weird, so everything’s still orange instead.
  • How the map handles accessibility icons was largely inspired by how Cameron Booth did it in his tube map redesign.
  • Good luck trying to fit Crossrail into this thing when it opens in a few years. I’m honestly not sure there’s enough space above the train doors for it.
  • And finally, Jonn’s right. This map is pointless. But some idiot at TfL felt a strip map showing the entire Overground network should exist, so here we are.
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Tokyo Map Update 2

I’m trying to come up with a way to differentiate service patterns on the Tokyo map. I don’t want anything super fine-grained; some lines have seven different varieties of express services running on them and that would just be too unwieldy. That’s what strip maps are for. I just want to be able to tell the difference between local stations and local/rapid stations.

Here’s what I have for the commuter rail lines:

Screen Shot 2016-09-17 at 11.48.55 AM.png

Pretty straightforward, I think. Filled circle for local/rapid stations, hollow circle for local stations (easy differentiation), smaller filled circle for rapid only stations (those do exist; they’re just kind of rare). Local-only lines would just have the filled circle. The problems start happening when we try and do the same thing with the subway lines (the Asakusa, Fukutoshin, Shinjuku, and Tozai lines all have rapid services in some form or other):

Screen Shot 2016-09-17 at 11.51.30 AM.png

For the subway lines I want to not just differentiate between local/rapid stations but also want to clearly define through services, and in the latter case I don’t think using a slightly smaller station symbol does the trick. I also want the methods for telling everything apart to be consistent across all modes, so if I change it for the subway lines it’ll also have to change for the commuter rail lines.

Other notes:

  • I’m not worried about rapid-only subway stations because thanks to the nature of Tokyo’s subway network those can’t exist.
  • I don’t have much of a desire to split lines with local and rapid services into two separate lines unless they’re already embedded that way in the public consciousness (e.g. Chuo Rapid, Sobu Rapid).
  • This symbol: Screen Shot 2016-09-17 at 12.08.20 PM.pngis already in use for tram lines.
  • I would like to avoid giving different stations different shapes if at all possible.
  • I think this looks funny:Screen Shot 2016-09-17 at 12.11.32 PM.png

Anyway, that’s what I have so far. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Tokyo Map Update

Here’s what I got so far:


I’d say I’m closing in on the halfway point and should, hopefully, have it done by some indeterminate point between late October and late January.

Anyway, in case it wasn’t obvious, this particular iteration of the Tokyo map includes a lot of projects that are in various stages of planning, mostly so I have some confidence that it’ll be good for a few decades and I won’t have to redraw it in the future. Some are under-construction or should be soon (Sotetsu through lines), some are still under planning (the two new subway lines to be built for the Olympics), some have been under planning for a long time but never seem to actually go anywhere (Metro Seven/Eight Liner), and some are pretty much dead (Kawasaki Municipal Subway), included just in case they’re resurrected. Anyway, the resources I’ve been using for this project date from 2010, so naturally they’re a little out of date.

Good news is, I found a more recent resource over on SSC. Bad news is some new ideas have, in fact, been floated since 2010 that I hadn’t anticipated (surprise, surprise). Here they are (and remember, whether they’re likely to happen doesn’t matter to me):

  • The Oedo line (E) extension to the Musashino Line (JM) has been rerouted so it connects to the Seibu Ikebukuro Line (SI) at Oizumi Gakuen. [Turns out they meant Oizumi Gakuen the neighborhood not Oizumi Gakuen the station. Duh.]
  • Through running between Tsukuba Express (TX) and the new, as-yet-unnamed subway line (D) connecting Tokyo Station with Odaiba.
  • Tama Monorail (TT; maybe split into T1 and T2 a la Chiba Monorail) extensions to Itsukaichi and Koremasa.
  • Marunouchi Line (M) extension from Honancho “westward,” whatever that means.
  • Passenger service (JB) along Shinkin freight line between Shin-Koiwa to Kanamachi.
  • Passenger service (JE) along Etchujima freight line between Etchujima and Kameido.
  • Musashino Line (JM) extension along the South Musashino freight branch between Fuchu Hommachi and Tsurumi, and thence from Tsurumi along Keihin freight line (JZ) to Haneda Airport.
  • The Omiya East-West LRT (EW) runs to Urawa Misono instead of Saitama Stadium.
  • Keihin freight line (JZ) swallows Nambu branch line (JN) to Shitte; terminus changed from Shitte to Kawasaki.
  • Through service between Tokyu Toyoko Line (TY) and Tamagawa Line (TM).

Fortunately, this map is bigger and more spacious than the last one, so I have a bit of breathing room. But that doesn’t mean an already frustrating project didn’t just get more difficult…

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LAC[&OC]MTA K Line, In Your Dreams

lacmta k line


Inspired by CalUrbanist’s extensive & impressive work on what the LA Metro might eventually look like, here’s a really early taste of the crayon map I have brewing for Southern California. The current farthest-out plans for the Crenshaw line have it run from Hollywood to Torrance; here it’s extended from Torrance through Long Beach all the way to Anaheim, because that’s a financially justifiable endeavor, oh yes. Some station names and line colors are tentative; connections with Red & Yellow Cars not shown.

Font is Calluna Sans, because I can’t afford FF Scala Sans. Yet.

I posted this here because I’m about to start work on the redesigned Tokyo map and it looks like it’s gonna take a while, so here’s something to hold you over till that’s done.

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