Geographically Accurate Subway Maps

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Anyone who rides the subway is familiar with the standard subway map, a cartoon version of the real thing which is designed to aid the rider through their travels. The geography of the subway is such that there are places where many lines are close together which would clutter an accurate map which results in subway maps expanding these areas. The inverse is true in the outer boroughs where lines can be spaced further apart taking up extra space on a map so subway maps often condense these areas. Because of this designed distortion the subway map as we know it is more of a diagram: the important information like the color of lines and stations are there but the non essential details are distorted or removed. The subway map just has a simple line to indicate a train when in reality lines consist of a pair of tracks or more if there is express service; there are also crossover tracks so trains can switch tracks. Stations usually consist of multiple platforms, sometimes in odd configurations. But the simple subway map condenses this information to show subway lines as simple single colored lines and stations as simple dots… More here.

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It’s the geographically accurate TfL connections map, which might sound boring but bear with us. You know how the tube map gives you an unrealistic impression of how near or far away things are from each other in the real world? This totally solves that problem. The map shows tube lines, overground lines, mainline rail lines, as well as roads, neighbourhoods, parks and rivers. It’s from 2014 so it’s slightly out of date but it also maps out some future lines, including new Overground branches and Crossrail… More here.

I prefer the geographically accurate ones personally.

2 thoughts on “Geographically Accurate Subway Maps

  1. If I want to take the tube, I prefer the tube map.

    If I want to know which tube station is closest to my destination, or whether I might as well walk rather than take a tube, I prefer a real map.

    Increasingly, I walk more in London, now that I’ve a better “above ground” knowledge, which means more exercise and less being crammed like a sardine into a tin.

  2. Doesn’t TomTom or some other app have a way to tell you which to take to get to where you want to go?

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