Exploration of how much geography is needed in metro maps

Posted to Maps  |  Tags: ,  |  Nathan Yau

Terrence Fradet of Fathom Information Design ponders whether metro maps suffer or benefit by leaving out geography. Geographic accuracy is good, but sometimes it can confuse your audience.

Just how important is it that metro maps represent geography? This piece came from an interest in how metro maps over the past century have tiptoed between geographic and topological representations—topological meaning to forgo all spatial integrity and instead represent the connectivity of a specific environment.

1 Comment

  • Boston?
    For me, I love to see the geography, but I think for tourists and natives alike, the utility matters most, i.e. the connections and relative relation between stops. When they get above ground, then it’s nice to have an actual map posted in the train station.

Favorites

Reviving the Statistical Atlas of the United States with New Data

Due to budget cuts, there is no plan for an updated atlas. So I recreated the original 1870 Atlas using today’s publicly available data.

Pizza Place Geography

Most of the major pizza chains are within a 5-mile radius of where I live, so I have my pick, …

The Best Data Visualization Projects of 2011

I almost didn’t make a best-of list this year, but as I clicked through the year’s post, it was hard …

Interactive: When Do Americans Leave For Work?

We don’t all start our work days at the same time, despite what morning rush hour might have you think.