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#1
benbakelaar

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In my geography/map design class, we would start each session by looking at a map example and saying what was right/wrong with it. I would really be interested to hear all of your professional design comments on this map... overall, color scheme, text size, text placement, line width, etc. etc.

http://www.mta.nyc.n...maps/submap.htm

[Maybe we could make this a weekly feature?]

#2
Matthew Hampton

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I really like MapCrit.

My first impression is that the Moccasin-colored land is a poor choice given the yellowish and orangish transit lines. If they uesd a color (like they do for their Manhattan bus map) that is a little less saturated, the figure-ground relationship between the subway and the land would be better.

The type feels a little heavy too. I think something that is a little more condensed and a wee bit lighter would be nicer.

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#3
Martin Gamache

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Personally I find the water and greenspaces over generalized.

mg

#4
Dennis McClendon

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I find it a funny compromise between a map and diagram, which I think would benefit from a fair amount of generalization and "orthotics." I would work very hard on whether the lines and station names could be stylized into some framework with consistent angles and curves.

The Massimo Vignelli design, used in the 1970s, was much criticized for overgeneralizing, which produced actual geographic errors in some places on the map. The current design is, I think, an overreaction. Vignelli did a redesign of his map (I'll post it later) to try to answer some of the criticism, but John Tauranac and others pushed the MTA to this concept, freshened up a few years ago by Hertz Associates.

As some of you know, I'm the designer of Chicago's equivalent map, found at
CTA Train Map
(though mucked up a little by the client's graphic department).
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#5
benbakelaar

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Awesome, already some great comments... keep 'em coming!

As some of you know, I'm the designer of Chicago's equivalent map, found at
CTA Train Map
(though mucked up a little by the client's graphic department).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Your map looks a lot like the NJTransit one, maybe they took cues from you, or whatever style that is. http://www.njtransit..._rail_map13.jpg

#6
Hans van der Maarel

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Dennis,

I didn't know you did that one :blink: The 2003 version of that map is described in "Metro Maps Of The World" (get it at Amazon.com, it's a great read, but a bit pricy) as:

... stands on the shoulders of its predecessors and is a cornerstone of the clarity and stylishness of the entire system.


As for the NYC map, for metro maps I personally prefer a more diagram-like approach to the system. A lot of the topographical detail is irrelevant as the map is mainly used to navigate the system itself. This particular map is a bit hard to decypher, especially in south Manhattan, due to the sheer amount of information being communicated.

*wishes he'd get a chance to design such a map*
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#7
zforest

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As some of you know, I'm the designer of Chicago's equivalent map, found at
CTA Train Map
(though mucked up a little by the client's graphic department).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Very cool Dennis -- I didn't realize you designed this. I stare at this every day from Damen to the Loop. Well, maybe not stare, but I've certainly checked it out a time or two. Nice work.
Zachary Forest Johnson
Cartographer and Software Engineer


indiemaps.com/blog

#8
Unit Seven

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This is a great thread - and I think as a weekly (or maybe fortnightly) feature is a good idea.

As has been mentioned the text gets a bit messy and hard to instantly tell where a label ends and where the next one begins. There are a few names which are unclear at first glance if they are one or two line names - eg, a two line name and a one line name will have a similar spacing between all three lines so the middle line isn't clear what name it goes with.

Particulary bad one is:
Morrison
Sound View Av
Elder Av\
rather than centering on the station sytmbol I'd think of moveing Elder Av label down a bit and prob the other two up a bit.

Cheers,

Sam.
S a m B r o w n

U N I T S E V E N
unit.seven@gmail.com

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N E W Z E A L A N D

#9
mike

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I have some of the same feelings as the others:

- Text is slightly too bold. The spacing in the lettering is almost lost at this view size.
- I can see where the designer is going with the very generalized backgroun (land, water, parks), but it seems like it is over simplified/generalized. I would've liked to see a little more detail in the shorelines (but not too much).
- The background colors are quite saturated and it takes away a bit of the hierarchy of the subway lines. I think desaturating the background will help bring the subway lines out more.
- I do like colors of the lines though, although the yellow does get a little lost in larger portions where there is more land.

#10
Nick Springer

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In the late 70's and early 80's, I used to visit my Grandparents in NYC all the time. They did not have a car like most New Yorkers and I relished the subway rides with my Grandfather. I used to pour over the map and study the system and had most of it memorized. As such I became a bit of a connoisseur of the various MTA map designs over the years.

Personally the printed map used on the trains during the late 90's was the pinnicle of the design (I'll have to see if I can dig one up). The most recent stuff, especially on the web, has taking a major turn for the worse. Oversimplification, poor water and land colors, and weak typography all contribute.

Nick Springer

Director of Design and Web Applications: ALK Technologies Inc.
Owner: Springer Cartographics LLC


#11
benbakelaar

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The most recent stuff, especially on the web, has taking a major turn for the worse.  Oversimplification, poor water and land colors, and weak typography all contribute.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Nick and all, would you say this is due in part (or mostly) to the rise in quality of GIS software and software templates (as compared to early 90s when you would never publish the output except in technical journals)? And perhaps, in conjunction, the growing/perceived lack of importance of "design", so instead the producers are split GIS/IT/Project Managers who don't have time to focus on design?

#12
jerseysbest

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Nick and all, would you say this is due in part (or mostly) to the rise in quality of GIS software and software templates (as compared to early 90s when you would never publish the output except in technical journals)? And perhaps, in conjunction, the growing/perceived lack of importance of "design", so instead the producers are split GIS/IT/Project Managers who don't have time to focus on design?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


You sound like a Mike Seigal Cartography student :D :D

I remember seeing a post about you taking a Cart class at Rutgers, so I assume it was his. I just finished Advanced Cart and I know that's one of his complaints with a lot of maps that are published.

#13
Derek Tonn

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benbakelaar,

My biggest concern with that particular subway map graphic is their choice of color. In particular, take a look at how those maps look to individuals with common forms of red/green color blindness issues in the attached files. Almost IMPOSSIBLE to discern many of the colored routes from one another. It's tough though trying to deal with color blindness issues with that much information being presented on a map! Still though, many of those color differences disappear for as much/more than 5% of the population who will be using the map...which should hopefully be of some concern to folks.

My $0.02. :)

Attached Files


Derek Tonn
Founder and CEO
mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com

#14
Kartograph

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Nick and all, would you say this is due in part (or mostly) to the rise in quality of GIS software and software templates (as compared to early 90s when you would never publish the output except in technical journals)? And perhaps, in conjunction, the growing/perceived lack of importance of "design", so instead the producers are split GIS/IT/Project Managers who don't have time to focus on design?
*




You sound like a Mike Seigal Cartography student biggrin.gif biggrin.gif


Well, that line of argumentation is used by several people all over the globe.

@Map: I?d also drop the topography altogether in favor of a topology-only map.
Like the famed Tube of London map, or one of it?s epigones like the Berlin Subway "Spider".

Berlin "Netspider"

BTW, there is a collection of Berlin "Netspiders" starting in 1890 here.

#15
benbakelaar

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You sound like a Mike Seigal Cartography student :D  :D

I remember seeing a post about you taking a Cart class at Rutgers, so I assume it was his. I just finished Advanced Cart and I know that's one of his complaints with a lot of maps that are published.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Hah! Indeed I am, it was so strange to see his name in your message... I guess I took that class about 2 years ago now. I never got to take Advanced though, since Rutgers only offers it once every 2 years. And although I never would have credited that class with my opinion, I guess it really did have an influence on me!

Thanks everyone for posting your comments, it's a great learning experience for me (and other non-pro's I'm sure). I'm not sure how to do votes on this board, but I think a weekly or bi-weekly "map critique" would be great, I know that in our map gallery we offer constructive criticism for personal projects, but this would be a little different, focused on some area like transit, or just in general on "high-use" maps, or the topic could change each week.




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