Ever wondered if subway maps were as neat as they look on the posters? Well, the map lovers over at the Data Is Beautiful subreddit have the answer.
The team of awesome data nerds has been exceeding themselves in answering that question and the response is pretty great!
The team has put together a collection of hypnotizing GIFs that illustrate how cities’ highly recognizable subway maps represent their real geography.
Subway maps are designed to help you get around your metropolis. They use primary colors and icons to make them as digestible and understandable as possible. It also means they use a little imagination when indicating actual proportional distances and directions. It is often hard to imagine a city’s real geography of twists, turns and rises when consulting your pocket-sized transit map.
Luckily the crew at Data Is Beautiful subreddit came up with this memorable GIF collection. Try and tear your eyes away as your favorite city map morphs into an “oh it’s like that” moment. The series of addictive GIFs comparing subway maps to cities’ geography was started with the ever wonderful Berlin.
[Image Source: vinnivinnivinni/Reddit]
New York’s famous underground gets the treatment:
[Image Source: payhouse_animation/Reddit]
Barcelona’s hilly city is perfectly explained in this mesmerizing GIF:
[Image Source: miamimiami/Reddit]
This GIF shows Shanghai’s more chaotic side in reality:
See what one of the most famous graphic design icons looks like in reality:
The home of the White House, Washington:
[Image Source: stupidgit/Reddit]
Atlanta’s simple subway treatment gets a special dancing transition by Reddit user D3signAllTheThings:
[Image Source: D3signAllTheThings/Reddit]
Antwerp, Belgium gets a very smooth makeover that would make Magritte proud:
Vienna’s subway map GIF looks like it might come alive on the screen:
Canada offers simple and soothing GIFs with Vancouver and Montreal respectively:
[Image Source: weilian82/Reddit]
Meanwhile, Warsaw and Austin, take out the prize for simplest subways and most confusing geographical comparisons!
Urban data visualization is a tool to explain and analyze the way we use cities and spaces. It takes data gathered from sources like mobile check-ins, security cameras, infrared, surveys and social media to create visuals that help us understand the way people use cities. Urban Data visualizations can give city planners and officials cool insights into the way cities work and help them make better decisions for future city design.
Margarida Fonseca built this cool website full of Urban Data visualizations. The images of human movement around the world are brilliant. Fonseca visualized 12 million kilometres of activity in major cities around the world to get an understanding of the way humans move through cities. Data analyzed for walking, running, cycling, and motorized transportation each tell us different stories about the cities and their inhabitants. It is no surprise that Amsterdam has a dense bike riding map here.