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Transit Maps of the World by Mark Ovenden

Transit Maps of the World (2003)

by Mark Ovenden

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5281327,536 (4.13)4

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Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
Started out very interesting, but since I am neither an extreme transit geek or map nerd, at 144 pages it is too long. The authors have one (correct) conclusion that is belabored throughout. The Platonic subway map is Harry Beck's 1933 map of the London Underground, and all other maps are successful only so far as they copy its features. ( )
  rameau | Aug 3, 2011 |

"I have to admit it's kind of disappointing. Mostly in that many of the maps are too small to properly enjoy looking at them; I think they should have added 50 pages so they could have printed more of the maps much bigger."
  lampbane | Jun 17, 2010 |
"I'm going to snuggle in bed and read the geekiest book ever written, " I proclaimed and went off to read Transit Maps of the World (2007) by Mark Ovenden. "That is a geeky book," my wife confirmed. But it's a book so wonderfully geeky that it goes all the way around to being cool again.

As the title implies this is a book of maps from transit systems around the world, not being too picky about a strict definition for urban transit thankfully. The book approaches maps of metro systems from an historic and design perspective. The book is divided into six zones with the older and larger systems getting more attention in the early zones, with less detail on the smaller and newer systems (although amazingly some of the systems in Asia that are of recent vintage are growing in leaps and bounds).

Ovenden appreciates the simplicity of a diagramatic map that eschews topography, where the lines branch out at 45 degree angles, the stations are marked with simple white circles and bulls-eyes for transfer stops, and the stations are clearly labeled in a unique font where the words do not cross the lines. The book illustrates that most metro maps in the world are variations on these simple design themes that originated with Harry Beck's famous map of the London Underground. The major exception is the New York MTA map which is geographically based, and I think appropriately so due to NYC's unique topography, although here I disagree with the author (I also found an interesting topographically-correct map of Boston's MBTA system at a website called Radical Cartogaphry).

What I like about this book most is the author's delight in the maps and the maps and the transit systems they represent. There's really a lot of positive commentary in this book and joy in public transit. Even the MBTA, much-maligned by Bostonians, comes off sounding pretty good. He even includes this classic, hand-drawn map of the old Boston MTA system where the elevated tracks are rendered in 3-D.

Here are a list of transit-related websites suggested by the book, plus one that makes up maps for Boston's future that I've been a fan of for some time. I think my fellow transit geeks can waste away many an hour here.
( )
2 vote Othemts | Jan 12, 2009 |
Archetypal coffeetable book: Pretty, superficially interesting, glossy pictures, a smidgen of intanational style, and ultimately of much more interest to obsessive freaks than the populace at large. ( )
1 vote MeditationesMartini | Oct 1, 2008 |
Mark Ovenden assembled a book that contains maps of every urban train system in the world. Subway geeks will love it. And plain old map geeks like me as well. Older systems with more history get more pages and a series of maps that show the changing styles of the maps as well as the expansion of the systems. Newer ones get fewer pages. The newest, including ones that are only in the planning stages, get thumbnails. But it’s pretty complete. ( )
  KingRat | Jun 17, 2008 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
This is the kind of book that would be incredibly fun to browse with kids as part of a world geography investigation -- and also the sort of thing that makes great bedtime reading if you want to salt your dreams with the possibility of travel to distant cities.
added by lampbane | editBoing Boing, Cory Doctorow (Oct 24, 2007)
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1st ed. has title: Metro Maps of the World
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143112651, Paperback)

Transit Maps of the World is the first and only comprehensive collection of historic and current maps of every rapid-transit system on earth. Using glorious, colorful graphics, Mark Ovenden traces the history of mass transit-including rare and historic maps, diagrams, and photographs, some available for the first time since their original publication. Transit Maps is the graphic designer's new bible, the transport enthusiast's dream collection, and a coffee-table essential for everyone who's ever traveled in a city.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:43 -0400)

A comprehensive collection of every rapid-transit system map on earth.--From publisher's description.

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