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Transit Maps of the World (2003)

by Mark Ovenden

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5821529,967 (4.14)4
Transit Maps of the World is the first, comprehensive collection of every rapid-transit system on earth. Using glorious, colourful graphics, Mark Ovenden traces the history of urban transport systems, including rare and historic maps, diagrams, and photographs. Transit Maps could not be more relevant to our modern existence. It uncovers the way many of us are able live and work day to day. It is an inspiring compendium for graphic designers and transport enthusiasts alike.… (more)
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English (14)  Spanish (1)  All languages (15)
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
This is an excellent read for anyone interested in:
- Maps in general
- Transport
- The development of a particular city over time.

The layout and editing of the book is excellent, and I will enjoy reading it again and again over the years. ( )
  ormhewitt | Dec 27, 2020 |
Entertaining book that shows the development over the decades of various subway systems' maps, the kind given out to riders and posted in stations and cars. There's a lot of discussion of various techniques, but if you're not interested in the recipe, you can still enjoy the "cake" of a lot of neat historical maps, such as the ones for Moscow and Berlin. Lots of fun. ( )
  EricCostello | Aug 29, 2019 |
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 |
http://lampbane.livejournal.com/607837.html

"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 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (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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Transit Maps of the World is the first, comprehensive collection of every rapid-transit system on earth. Using glorious, colourful graphics, Mark Ovenden traces the history of urban transport systems, including rare and historic maps, diagrams, and photographs. Transit Maps could not be more relevant to our modern existence. It uncovers the way many of us are able live and work day to day. It is an inspiring compendium for graphic designers and transport enthusiasts alike.

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