Thursday, September 17, 2009

reality vs abstract

i have always loved transit maps. primarily because they are mix of reality and the abstract. the natural dents and bumps are overlaid with clear lines.

apparently BART is releasing new maps where they have straightened their lines out even more...

the old map:

the new map:

for the most part i like it. i assume with these you set rules to adhere to... how "short" a straight segment can be, how far apart the stops should be to accurately reflect elapsed time, etc... but when the end of the line (millbrae, for instance) is graphically 13 miles further south than it actually is, perhaps the rules need to be tweaked. SFO which sits north of millbrae out in the water is shown in the middle of san mateo. when san francisco is geographically 7 miles x 7 miles, that discrepancy (along with the lack of curvature through SF) might confuse some...

...but i guess they're tourists.

so i started thinking about this and remembered i had downloaded an iphone app for bart and that it had a pretty cool looking map. the map on the app was designed by peter mclelland, and i find it much better... so why isn't bart using it?

the app is called iBART, and here is their system map:

granted, this is zoomed in, but the overall system map cleans it up and remains accurate.

the zoomability of handhelds are going to make any and all maps superior... powers of ten...

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