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Old April 3rd, 2010, 05:06 PM   #1
citybus
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Creating Metro Maps

I've seen people on here make metro maps of fantasy projects, what software is good for this? I did a search in google and downloaded something called Smartdraw but it's only marginally better than Microsot word. I just need something that can easily draw tube map type diagrams without me having to **** around with measurements every time or having to physically draw a circle for every individual station. I'd prefer something that is free or cheap.
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 06:25 PM   #2
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A lot of people use Inkscape or adobe illustrator.
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 06:25 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by citybus View Post
I've seen people on here make metro maps of fantasy projects, what software is good for this? I did a search in google and downloaded something called Smartdraw but it's only marginally better than Microsot word. I just need something that can easily draw tube map type diagrams without me having to **** around with measurements every time or having to physically draw a circle for every individual station. I'd prefer something that is free or cheap.
"Cheap", "Easy to use", "Powerful". Pick any two.

There aren't any programs dedicated to drawing Harry Beck-style Tube maps. It wouldn't make sense to design such an application as the market is tiny. You'd have to charge so much for it that it'd be cheaper for your customers to just buy an off-the-shelf application instead and use that.

I'm a Mac user and find Omnigraffle pretty good, but it doesn't exist on Windows. Smartdraw, as a diagramming tool, is certainly capable of creating a Tube Map-style diagram, but it's primarily focused on graphing, which skews the controls somewhat. You may find an application like Adobe Illustrator more to your liking.

There are tricks you can use which are common to most of these applications. E.g. holding down the [SHIFT] or [CTRL] key while dragging out a line will usually 'snap' it to either 90 degrees or 45 degrees, depending on the application. As you get to learn your chosen application, you will become more proficient in it, learning most of its time-saving tools over time.

But...

You do need to learn these applications instead of dabbling with them for five minutes before throwing your hands up in despair. Nobody learns to drive a car in five minutes; why do you expect to learn how to use a complex graphic design application in that time?

And why do you expect to learn basic graphic design skills in that same time? Do you think you can glean this in an afternoon simply by playing around with an application you've downloaded off the internet?
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 06:39 PM   #4
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it would be good for someone with software writing skills to code a program which is especially for drawing transportation maps. Metro's, on street trams, light railways, railways and aircraft can be included. metro maps will closely resemble harry becks underground map and.... oh wait, i'm dreaming again
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 06:48 PM   #5
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Computers arent my strongpoint so I was really wanting to have my cake and eat it.
I assumed there would be some sort of all size fits all programme that would do basic versions of Harry Beck maps, though not necessarily a cheap one. I know there isnt much demand for an amateur metro map making tool in itself but as they could be used for graphic making in general I had hoped there would be something significantly cheaper than Illustrator. Omnigraffle looks reasonably priced but alas I've a windows pc.

Ta for the help, I'll try out Inkscape
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 10:08 PM   #6
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Made this Beck-style map using (believe it or not) MS Paint, as well as Paintshop Pro 8. I simply get existing maps off the internet, copy them onto the pain document and knock them how I want them, with Paintshop Pro for the more fiddly things.




Last edited by Gareth; April 3rd, 2010 at 10:13 PM.
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 10:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iranair777 View Post
it would be good for someone with software writing skills to code a program which is especially for drawing transportation maps. Metro's, on street trams, light railways, railways and aircraft can be included. metro maps will closely resemble harry becks underground map and.... oh wait, i'm dreaming again
Why? They're not that hard to create for an experienced graphic designer. Once you know the rules, it's relatively easy to do the actual drawing using a good graphic design application like Adobe Illustrator—or even Lineform. (It's been a while since I've had to use Windows, so I'm not up to speed on what's cheap and free there.)

There are probably macros or templates in use by the likes of TfL to speed up the process, but there's nothing to stop you making your own.
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Old April 4th, 2010, 11:08 PM   #8
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I use humble Microsoft Office Visio for my atlas... You might even already have it without knowing it! Takes a bit of trial & error to start getting the right results, but I'm totally self-taught. It even has a set of metro map templates & symbols.
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Old April 4th, 2010, 11:58 PM   #9
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For years I've been trying to draw a London tube map in the style of the 70's Moscow Metro map.

Never managed it, the lines cross too much.
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Old April 5th, 2010, 02:22 AM   #10
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Hard to realistically portray a coffee stain from a mug on a map?
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Old April 5th, 2010, 01:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isaac Newell View Post
For years I've been trying to draw a London tube map in the style of the 70's Moscow Metro map.

Never managed it, the lines cross too much.
What style do you mean? Perfectly circular Circle Line?

Harry Beck experimented with it (see page 74 of 'Mr Beck's Underground Map', Capital Transport), but as the Circle Line is so far from circular, he was opting for an ellipse wider than tall.

Moot point now that the Circle has turned into the snail / spiral / sperm / teacup line.
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Old April 5th, 2010, 04:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isaac Newell View Post
For years I've been trying to draw a London tube map in the style of the 70's Moscow Metro map.

Never managed it, the lines cross too much.
Thats the exact problem I have; Lines crossing over each other each other or not having enough space for the station name
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Old April 6th, 2010, 02:03 AM   #13
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Yes the one with the perfect circle
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Old April 6th, 2010, 04:14 PM   #14
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I've made tube maps in MS Paint before and if you take your time the results can be pretty impressive! Now I use Adobe Fireoworks which is much better due to the layers that can be copied, although it is still pretty time consuming and hard to make smooth curves!
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Old April 23rd, 2010, 01:08 PM   #15
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How about ArcView GIS?

I bet I could rustle up a Beck style one with polylines for individual lines and point data for stations. Labels can be automatically handled by the labelling engine and the Key would be a snip using the Legend tool.
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Old April 23rd, 2010, 02:32 PM   #16
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Hello Citybus... I did one of these maps years ago for Translink (Northern Ireland). This was before the days of computers. It was also before the days when Translink (a backward company at the best of times) had anything like this for their trains.

I used Letraset, and a product called Letratape. The result looked great. So great in fact the Translink said "thanks", but "no thanks". It was a speculative project, and I asked them for a mere £100. They turned this down; "lost" the art-work, but years later guess what happened? Yep - you got it right. Somehow they ended up using a modified version of MY map.

Anyway. You can use several different software systems to make these maps. I would use Macromedia Freehand (it's obsolete now, but much better, and easier to use than its bloated and confusing rival Illustrator)

They are very very simple to do (now), but all of that is thanks to the genius of original designer of the London Tube Map.
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Old June 14th, 2010, 10:52 PM   #17
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Could Anyone send me a PM with some sort of Tutorial for Inkscape, in relation to map making, because I'm having a hard time doing so..
Thanx!
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Old August 19th, 2012, 11:00 AM   #18
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This was the best I could manage with Word, Paint, and no skills whatsoever:

http://www.155bus.co.uk/#/route-map/4566893021

Had to add the link buttons after using Moonfruit. Will remake the whole thing later when time allows.
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Old August 19th, 2012, 09:29 PM   #19
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I've dabbled with Visio for such things before losing interest and moving on to the next shiny thing, which may have been Super Mario Galaxy 2 - can't remember.

Always best to use some kind of vector graphics package for diagrams.
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Old August 21st, 2012, 12:03 AM   #20
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Posted this in the fantasy maps thread. May be of interest here.
beno.org.uk/metromapcreator/#
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