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Alternative highway map for The Netherlands

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#1
Hans van der Maarel

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Inspired by a map Dennis mentioned in this thread, I decided to try my hand at creating a road map for The Netherlands in a style similar to Beck's famous London Underground maps. Here's some small samples, a PDF of the entire thing can be downloaded here.

Attached File  beck_roadmap_sample1.jpg   44.82KB   158 downloadsAttached File  beck_roadmap_sample2.jpg   62.06KB   160 downloads

I decided to show exits (with name and number), junctions, major cities and the important secondary roads (not up to highway standards, but often very important for interregional connections) as well as connections to major foreign cities.

I must say, it's easier said than done. Took me quite some stretching and poking to get the network right, but I think I pulled it off quite nicely. Any comments?
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#2
ELeFevre

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Hans,

Nice map! I really like the colors and labeling. Would you mind providing some info on how you created the network?



#3
Hans van der Maarel

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Hans,

Nice map! I really like the colors and labeling. Would you mind providing some info on how you created the network?


Thanks!

The network was all done manually in Illustrator. I did put a grid up for reference and of course I used the hotkeys to limit lines (and label rotations) to 45 degree increments. Basically it was a matter of counting the number of exits between 2 junctions and making sure there was enough room along the line to place them. This means that in some cases, there's a lot of exits close to eachother while in other areas there's long lenghts of line with only one or two exits.

Funny enough, the place I was most worried about (Amsterdam and its surroundings) turned out to be relatively easy to do. In contrast, the major east-west highways turned out to be more of a hassle.

I think in total I spent about 10 hours working on this.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#4
Martin Gamache

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I agree with Erin, the design is quite nice.

I am a bit surprised by the result, and maybe that is just because of my N. Am experience, I would of expected large cities to be major nodes in the network, rather they are enclosed by the network /circumference roads. I am sure you've shown it in an appropriate way, just surprising to see. In Canada and the US we often have major highways terminating in large cities or cutting through them. I suspect a rail network map would look different.

#5
MapMedia

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Excellent - DId you do something interesting to get the label groups to be aligned the same so well?
Good colors, typography, and letter casings.

It would be a useful image map where mouse over exits shows distance to adjacent exists. Then you get the excellent conceptual view plus actual real-world distances.

Glad Cartotalk thread inspire cartographers to push the envelope!

#6
Jean-Louis

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I must say, it's easier said than done. Took me quite some stretching and poking to get the network right,


I can appreciate that. I find this concept absolutely fascinating. For me it confirms something which I had long ago noticed doing pictorial maps, namely how malleable and plastic our sense of space can be. I am always surprised at how far that envelope can be pushed.

When I have tried to train others to do the kind of maps I do - and this is probably the same challenge you faced in your map, Hans - I found that the greatest difficulty is to break free of what I call the ?tyranny of mapspace?. In other words, it is very hard to think out of the box that orientation can only be conveyed by an overhead view of constant scale distances. This type of map shows once again that it is the relationships between landmarks or fixed points, not the space between them that matter.

I think one of the difficulties is that we tend to view distance as objective. But in our actual experience, one Km in a city center is far ?longer? that the same km on a open highway. The human mind is always "stretching and poking" its perception of space. In a previous post, Derek Tonn referred to those who orient themselves by following a trail of breadcrumbs. That is a great image because when you follow such a trail, the only thing that matters is how one breadcrumb leads you to the next. The actual space between them is irrelevant.

I remember a really interesting article I read long ago about how Japaneese maps are uniquely attuned to that point of view.

Congratulations Hans, If I were to go to the Netherlands, yours are the maps that I would use.
Jean-Louis Rheault
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#7
Hans van der Maarel

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Excellent - DId you do something interesting to get the label groups to be aligned the same so well?
Good colors, typography, and letter casings.


If you rotate objects in Illustrator and hold down the shift key during that rotation, you're limiting it to angles at 45 degree intervals.

I am a bit surprised by the result, and maybe that is just because of my N. Am experience, I would of expected large cities to be major nodes in the network, rather they are enclosed by the network /circumference roads. I am sure you've shown it in an appropriate way, just surprising to see. In Canada and the US we often have major highways terminating in large cities or cutting through them. I suspect a rail network map would look different.


Don't forget we have 2000 years of history to deal with as well (some of the cities mentioned on the map were founded by the Romans...) Most of the highway construction in The Netherlands has been done in the period after WW2, so it was a relatively new thing that needed to be incorporated into the existing landscape. City centers in Europe are quite densely built up, narrow streets and all. Running a highway through them would almost always require a lot of demolition.

A railway map would look different indeed, although initially the stations were built outside the city walls: the construction of railroads in The Netherlands began when walled cities were still required by law to maintain the wall's integrity (that demand was lifted for most of the country in 1870, except for the cities along the Waterlinie). See Breda or Utrecht for some typical examples. Utrecht is especially interesting, because there were stations built both east and west of the historic city center. So even though the stations are now well inside the cities, they were on the outsides initially (and the station buildings were generally wooden constructions at first, so they could be taken or shot down easily if needed)
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#8
margaret

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Any comments?

Hans, that map is awesome! I love it!

#9
DaveB

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Hans,

Visually it looks great!
I can't comment on the accuracy, not being familiar with the highways of the Netherlands, but I'm sure it's more accurate and complete (and certainly more useful) than the US one linked to in the other thread.
(on the other hand you have a smaller country to cover :P )
Dave Barnes
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#10
Rob

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yeah Hans, very nice. print it on shirts and sell to tourists.




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