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View Poll Results: Which is the most impressive map?
NY subway map 59 25.99%
Tokyo subway map 88 38.77%
London tube map 80 35.24%
Voters: 227. You may not vote on this poll

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Old November 14th, 2005, 06:01 PM   #1
GaulsResearch
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NY subway map vs. Tokyo subway map vs. London tube map

Which is the most impressive map?

NY





Tokyo




London

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Old November 14th, 2005, 06:08 PM   #2
The Boy David
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It's funny looking at all 3 maps at the same time.

The first thing that immediately comes to mind is how much better the London Underground's graphic design is. London's map (as with most UK media creations) looks so much more polished than the others - it's just as big as the Tokyo map, but looks far less cluttered.

Impressive graphical layout.


But I think that overall New York's MTA wins.

Unless you include Heavy Rail Networks, in which case London and Tokyo are miles in front of NY.
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Old November 14th, 2005, 06:19 PM   #3
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But it was about the maps, not the systems. Then, if it comes down to graphic layout, I concur with you up to the moment where you make the incomprehensible swing to the MTA map.
The Tube map has a clear, crisp and (almost) timeless design, which hasn't changed much over the past 50 years. The only thing remarkably different between a Tube map from 1955 compared to the present one is (except for the Victoria and Jubilee lines added, of course) the integrated zoning system.
Therefore it's quite safe to say that Beck's original design is an 'evergreen', and the most long-lasting and succesful map design ever. It's the 'mother of all maps', just as the represented system is the 'mother of all systems'.
The MTA map is downright conservative, trying to get as close to the 'real' situation as possible. Though it does a good job in doing so, the geographic approach results in an incomprehensible clutter in downtown Manhattan and even more so in downtown Brooklyn. Not very user-friendly, even from a daily straphanger's point of view.
Put in historical perspective, the (M)TA hasn't had a map design as long lasting and succesful as the Tube Map. In the past 50 years, we have seen no less than four different (including this one) designs roll by. The Vignelli map (my favorite) came closest to the Tube map's design, but unfortunately, it didn't last.
The Tokyo map is the worst one, though. Even as it maintains a schematic design - just like the Tube map - it reduces the lines into a clutter of colors, overlaid with (incomprehensible) station symbols and names. Apart from that, it just doesn't appeal to me. It's boring.
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Old November 14th, 2005, 06:54 PM   #4
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1. New York (looks dense and big, its impressive)
2. London (good map)
3. Tokio (Like Alargule said, this map is boring, too dense)
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Old November 14th, 2005, 06:57 PM   #5
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Londons and I'm not because it's London, because it is clear and gives a sense of the size of it, the other two are just a mess.
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Old November 14th, 2005, 07:22 PM   #6
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New York's map is the best because it is drawn over a map of the city and will be helpful for tourists.

The other two are confusing for first time visitors who have no idea where the station is in relation to their actual physical location.
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Old November 14th, 2005, 08:15 PM   #7
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you may be right if the Tokyo map is the original one, is it really??? i saw other maps.
this one seems too dense, that's true, but i like it. the London's is a bit 'old fashioned' and conservativ but it looks almost good.
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Old November 14th, 2005, 08:40 PM   #8
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That map of Tokyo is on the official site.

http://www.tokyometro.jp/anzen/shary...24/rosen_e.gif
http://www.tokyometro.jp/
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Old November 14th, 2005, 09:17 PM   #9
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London and New York are pretty clear, New York looks messy but it's a very easy system... Tokio: I just wouldn't know how to get around there with that map!
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Old November 14th, 2005, 09:24 PM   #10
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I like the London one the most, i'ts much clearer. Tokyo's looks much bigger, maybe because of the font. NY's is nice too, but it's more confusing to use, in my experience.
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Old November 14th, 2005, 10:03 PM   #11
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New York actually had schematic maps in the 50s until the 80s. The current non-schematic design is relatively new.

Here's one from 1966:

1972:


That being said, I perfer the current styling of New York's subway maps. While the schematic maps may be better from an overall orginizational standpoint, the current maps give you a much better sense of where you REALLY are in the system and in the city.
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Old November 14th, 2005, 10:19 PM   #12
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^ I agree, the NY map has a certain sense of realism. The London map is well organized but I don't know how true to form it really is. And who knows what they were thinking with that Toyko map, terrible.
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Old November 14th, 2005, 10:52 PM   #13
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MTA - If I know where I want to go but don't know how far the station is from my destination, I can get a good estimate of the distance by looking at the geographically accurate map and can decide which line to take to that general area. The map also displays more information than the others.
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Old November 14th, 2005, 11:27 PM   #14
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The real MTA system map:



Last edited by cincobarrio; November 14th, 2005 at 11:40 PM.
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Old November 14th, 2005, 11:49 PM   #15
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^ There's a PDF version of that map here: http://www.mta.info/nyct/maps/subwaymap.pdf
It's not really geographically correct though, Manhattan is somewhat oversized.
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Old November 15th, 2005, 12:27 AM   #16
cincobarrio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mad_nick
^ There's a PDF version of that map here: http://www.mta.info/nyct/maps/subwaymap.pdf
It's not really geographically correct though, Manhattan is somewhat oversized.
Yeah, Manhattan does look a bit wide (never really noticed til now), but probably to allow all the lines to space out a little.
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Old November 15th, 2005, 12:34 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mad_nick
^ There's a PDF version of that map here: http://www.mta.info/nyct/maps/subwaymap.pdf
It's not really geographically correct though, Manhattan is somewhat oversized.
its not supposed to be to scale. I mean, look at where they put Staten Island! Its just supposed to give you a good idea of where you are geographicaly, and I think it definately succeds in doing so.
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Old November 15th, 2005, 12:48 AM   #18
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In the London one, River Thames makes a good mark imo...

As a subway user, I wouldn't like to have to deal with NY or Tokyo maps: they're total mess! NY because of its system of numbers, letters, and colours and its unreadable clusters in Manhattan and BK. Tokyo is far too dense and absolutely unreadable because of the thick lines and number on each station.

But I vote NY anyway, the design makes it looking realistic.
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Old November 15th, 2005, 01:02 AM   #19
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I agree with Alargule.

I do remember the late 70s schematic maps of New York -- I think they worked quite well downtown. I never rode out to the outer boroughs -- I could see schematics being a problem because you might be quite a bit off.

I think the systems do have something to do with the map designs -- my understanding is that London Underground is biggest but the stations are farther than New York's, so perhaps the distorted schematics don't matter as much because that is the only station around (I've never been to London). And I think the Underground system and British Rail Commuter Systems are quite distinct in the traffic they serve.

As for Tokyo, whoever drew that was hallucinating on manga porn. It was a matter of trial and error and dumb luck for me to navigate around the Tokyo subway lines -- even though I can read the Chinese and some of the Japanese characters.

The fact that Tokyo has 2 subway companies (different tickets), plus Japan Railway (JR, which operates within the city like the popular Yamanote line or Chuo lines or the expensive airport Narita Express, as well as the inter-city lines and Shinkansen), the Odaiba monorail and other private train lines doesn't help -- even though the inter-system integration is fairly good (if a bit confusing). And the subways can turn into commuter rails (S-bahns) -- I think the Hibiya line is like that if you keep going out of town well past Shibuya (though I never got that far). I mean I think Tokyo / Japan Rail is a great system -- fast, clean, on-time -- but you really have to learn it like some school kid memorizing his homework.

Last edited by TO_Joe; November 15th, 2005 at 01:11 AM.
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Old November 15th, 2005, 02:11 AM   #20
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I say Tokyo because its like a maze.. like atleast London and NYC are like somewhat centrified
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