Since beginning a full-time job in Tokyo I’ve been taking the train to work, and everyday it leaves me with the weirdest feeling of having just passed through the bowels of some otherworldly monster. Read more
As a confirmed map geek I really liked this take on the classic London Underground tube map which represents subjects as stations on a fictitious @UK network layout.
Last year the UK government also ran a nicely executed GREAT Britain image campaign, promoting Britain overseas as one of the best places to visit, study, work, and invest in.
An app which promises to “Remember everywhere you have been in your whole life journey” immediately makes me skepticism but ‘Fog of World‘ is actually pretty fun even if doesn’t quite live up to the hyperbole. The simple concept is that you start off with a world map which is covered by fog that only clears once you visit a location in person, as tracked by your smartphones GPS.
What you’re left with are inverse contrails criss crossing a map providing a visual record of exactly where you’ve been. The makers of the app have tried to gamify the system by awarding achievements which can be shared on a leader board. In other words, a travel egomaniacs dream.
Made in Taiwan, it’s a cute idea although I dread to imagine what this will do for your battery life.
If you’ve ever visited Hong Kong you will have undoubtably discovered that the city has three distinct, albeit tangled, levels – street level, underground and overground – which can be navigated by pedestrians via a complex network of elevated walkways and underground tunnels that have evolved over the past 50 years. You can literally walk for miles through interconnected shopping malls, office lobbies, train stations, parks and other public/private spaces. Read more
I thought I’d take a break this week from relaying my travel tales to bring you some useful info for anyone planning a trip to Japan themselves. For me the planning part is as much a part of the holiday as the time spent travelling itself – there’s something innately enjoyable about working out where you want to go, how to navigate your way around and where to stay. Read more
So it looks like someone at TfL was listening last year when I posted my critique of the 2008 version of the London Underground Tube Map which had become horribly cluttered and complex. Last month they issued a new version of the map which immediately sparked controversy because the River Thames had been removed along with many other changes designed to simplify the map which made the original so effective. Now that the outcry has died down I thought I’d take an objective look at the changes…
Let’s recap – the clean and simple 2004 version (click for larger version):
The horribly complex and cluttered 2008 version:
Leading to the new 2009 version:
What a breath of fresh air – at a glance you’d think they’d simply gone back to the 2004 version but aside from the obvious removal of the river and fare zones there are some more subtle omissions:
- walking distances
- blue/orange info boxes
- limited-time junctions (e.g. Kennington, Woodford)
- “check before you travel” symbols
In keeping with the tidy-up the DLR and Overground lines are now better integrated into the rest of the system and many junctions have been simplified. The wheelchair accessibility symbols are still excessive (but probably required by law).
In general I like this new design a lot; it solves most of my gripes with the 2008 version and brings back a certain artful elegance to the classic design. There is only one problem I have with this version: the lack of the River Thames. This was an iconic part of the map which was also a useful geographical indicator to help you know which side you were on (North/South). Apparently Major Boris Johnson feels the same way and has promised it’ll be reinstated so it’s not all bad news.
Despite its drawbacks the London Underground is the circulatory systems that supplies the lifeblood to the city so it’s no wonder that people are passionate about how we look at and navigate through it. Within the perspective of its evolution it seems that a step backward was needed to move things forward; “back to basics” if you like. It will be interesting to see how this continues to develop but TfL definitely deserves a small pat on the back for taking this brave step.
The mid-autumn national holidays are upon us in China with most people taking 8 days off work (but working weekends either end to compensate). I’m about to embark on a trip to explore some of China’s most beautiful smaller cities and villages around Shanghai in Jiangnan. In order I’ll be visiting:
…before returning to Shenzhen late next week. Known at “the Venice of the east” with many beautiful canals and lakes I’m looking forward to exploring the area and hoping that it’s not as busy as everyone is telling me its going to be!
As ever I’ll be updating on Twitter where possible and have also lined up a few interesting posts while I’m away 🙂
For the third year in a row Information Architects Japan have produced a new version of their Web Trend Map (see 2007 / 2008). This year they have surpassed themselves again with a striking new design style based on the Tokyo Metro map. Each trend line on the map is colour coded by industry with each company depicted according to its success and stability. The top 50 influential companies are connected via the “main line” with 111 individual people considered as trend setters also shown clustered around their respective interests (with Steve Jobs, Barack Obama & Eric Schmidt right in the centre at the Emperor’s Palace).
It’s nice to see WordPress (ranked 21) featured as an intersection of the Publishing, Creative & Filter lines with Drupal (ranked 43) situated as its neighbour. Interestingly most of the China web properties (Baidu, Sina, QQ etc.) lie on a branch of the Filter line without any interconnections suggesting that they’re still relatively issolated to that part of the world. Whilst this still the beta version taking a look at it full size is an absolute must – the final version should be released very soon apparently.
I’m thinking I should start some sort of collection to catalogue these types of maps which seem to becoming an increasingly popular form of information visualisation outside their tradition domain of the subway system.