Official Map: Metro de Madrid, Spain
Another map that asks the question: how much abstraction and geographical simplification is too much? From what I understand, this map of the Madrid Metro system has proved somewhat controversial since its introduction in 2007. Unlike most other diagrammatic maps, this one completely eschews even 45-degree angles: reducing the map to its most basic form - and one even further removed from the city’s underlying geography.
Have we been there? No, but would love to!
What we like:Clean, light and airy look. Definitely a map for a city that wants to place itself at the forefront of modern design and technology.
I absolutely love the way that interchange stations that have long walking distances between platforms are shown, and the estimated time is even indicated on the map (nine minutes to walk between the 4 and 6 lines at Diego de León station, for example). There are other systems - like New York and Barcelona - that could really use this on their map!
Limiting the colours denoting fare zones to the immediate area around the affected lines helps to keep the map clean and airy instead of having a big rainbow of concentric zones filling up the entire background of the map.
Symbology used on the map is very clear and distinctive. Available in separate Spanish and English (seen here) versions.
What we don’t like: Generally, the idea behind a diagrammatic presentation of a transit map is to smooth out the lines and evenly space the stations (wherever possible) so that a journey can be quickly and easily plotted by a user. Here, we have a strictly enforced 90-degree design and very unevenly spaced station names (the map is very empty in the centre, and extremely crowded out in the suburbs), both of which create a very stop-start, staccato feeling to the map. Any sense of relation to the actual geography city is lost - only the river and parks give any indication of that, and they aren’t particularly accurate either.
No accessibility information on the map, even though many of the older stations in the network are inaccessible due to their age.
Our rating: Visually bold and exciting, with some very nice ideas, but a lot of hard work to actually use. Two-and-a-half stars.
(Source: Official Metro de Madrid website - English version)
I’ve been following this blog for months, just waiting for the Madrid metro map to be posted! So beautiful