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New Transit Maps I Love

One of my favorite sites, Visual Complexity, just added a new project that I am very interested in. The project developed by Kim Ji-Hwan and Jin Sol takes individual city's railway maps and redesigns them to reflect the character of the city. It's a very interesting concept that creates some beautiful images. From Visual Complexity:

"The first image depicts Tokyo's intricate network of subway, lightrail and monorail, with more than 1500 stations covering the metropolitan area. Placed in the city center is the Imperial Palace, the residence of the current Ten-no (Japanese Emperor). Subway lines circumvent the expansive ground claimed by the Imperial Palace. This characteristic is visualized in this map by the concentric circles spreading out to the entire city, with the center in the Imperial Palace ground. This strong representation of circles is reminiscent of the national flag of Japan and the Japanese identity expressed in the flag."

And also this: "The second represents Seoul's network. The city boasts 600 years of history as the capital of the South Korea and its crossed by a river of great magnitude, which has become one of its most important symbols, the Han Gang. The depiction of Han River in this map mimics the curvature in the middle of the Tae-Geuk mark of the national flag of Korea. The overall circular shape of the map was also inspired by the Tae-Geuk mark. The brighter area in the center of the map shows the territory of Han Yang, the old capital of Cho-Sun Dynasty. This was the old Seoul marked by the Four Gates, and the growth of the city becomes clear when compared to the modern metropolitan sprawl."

On the designers'
website I found this explination and photo of the Osaka Railway: "Osaka is closely tied to the surrounding cities of Kyoto, Kobe, Nara, and Wakayama. Many people traveling to Osaka also visit the neighboring cities. We connected this concept with octopus as the main ingredient of Takoyaki (Tako in Japanese), the dish Osaka is known for. In this map, Osaka metropolitan is visualized as an octopus with the head being Osaka and the legs sprawling out to the other four cities. Combination with the calendar adds more practicality. In this map, coordinates map months and days instead of latitudes and longitudes, an attempt to link temporal and spacial dimension. The additional functionality as a scheduler using enclosed post-its allows creative uses of the fresh aesthetics that the railway map provides."

While I find these to be very interesting and wonderful pieces or art, my practical side prefers to see maps that reflect the actual route a line takes. Granted in some cities organizing a map to scale that shows all stops and lines needs to fit in a certain space so that isn't always possible. I love to be able to look at a map and know how that relates to the geography. There are some bus lines I use that on a map are a straight line but weave through many different neighborhoods, I'd love to get the feel of that on my bus map. Project? Maybe! Until then, I'll keep staring at these gems.

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