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showing multiple levels in urban maps

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#1
Dennis McClendon

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I'm working on a new transit map aimed at visitors to downtown Chicago.  One of the things I'm trying to clarify is how to get out of the train station where you've arrived and find the right bus stop.  For a city built on a flat site, Chicago is amazingly three-dimensional, and these need to show walkways through buildings, below streets (even if you haven't changed levels), and above streets.  Here are drafts of a couple of the maps.  I'm interested in whether folks think these clearly show the different levels and places where you have to change levels.

 


Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#2
skorasaurus

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Great start and fascinating topic.

I'm personally a big fan of using casings (not sure even if that's the proper word...) to represent highways that are above ground level.

 

For the map on the left, I am assuming that right part of Great Hall is underground and that stairs are necessary to reach ground level (Jackson) and the upper access to Canal. The left side of Great Hall to Clinton is already on ground level ?

 

What is the line that cuts across Canal from Great Hall ? I can't tell if it is supposed to be underground or above ground ?



#3
Dennis McClendon

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What's making these tricky is that it's the ground that's slanted—something Chicagoans assume never happens.  In the case of Union Station (left) all the entrances that are shown are from "ground level."  But next to the river, "ground level" is a full story higher than at Clinton Street.  So the passageway running east from the Great Hall goes under Canal Street.  I've used two different colors for passageways inside the buildings (white and yellow) to help indicate the different levels.

 

Maybe I should ghost the passages under streets a little more?


Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#4
Daniel Huffman

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Definitely a tough challenge! More ghosting could help. I had to mess around with opacity recently for a hotel floor plan which had a mezzanine, but people needed to see which rooms were on and which were beneath the mezzanine (and I didn't want to make two maps).

 

Perhaps dashed/dotted lines might help? I feel like I've seen that used elsewhere before. A solid casing for ground level, and a dashed casing for paths which are below ground.

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#5
DaveB

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Dashed or dotted casings for below ground was what I was thinking. Or if you don't want to use casings, maybe make the linear passages dashed?

You might try taking a look at some of the gaming maps which depict "dungeons" or other underground complexes. Or caving maps which depict irregular and even convoluted underground passages with multiple levels. Although all of those kinds of maps that I have seen have a different style than your city map it may be you can still find things to adopt/adapt, or to avoid.


Dave Barnes
Esri
Product Engineer
Map Geek




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