Friday Eye Candy: Subway-Style Maps That Explain Everything

Ok maybe not everything, everything—but the recognizable tropes of subway maps do make it easier to explain everything from the development of cities to musical styles to interstellar scale.

1 minute read

March 27, 2015, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Phil Edwards shares a fun and enlightening list of maps that apply the design tropes of subway maps such as the New York MTA's to everything but the subway. It turns out that the color and spatial coding of subway maps is helpful in providing access to many large and complex subjects.

So for instance, maps of all of the national parks in the United States and the travel routes of the world's largest passenger plan make a lot more sense with the help of subway map-style. Other maps make sense of spatial concepts that might never make sense to mere mortals without the help of subway map-style, such as a map showing the thrust necessary to travel between planets in our solar system, a map of the body's inter-related systems, or a map of the Milky Way Galaxy system—of which, for some perspective, our solar system is only a small stop on a tangential line that leads to the Orion Nebula.

My personal favorite is the map that plots cities as subway stops along the routes provided by North America's rivers.

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