Transit Maps of the World
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Transit Maps of the World

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  374 ratings  ·  52 reviews
Transit Maps of the World is the first and only comprehensive collection of historic and current maps of every rapid-transit system on earth. Using glorious, colorful graphics, Mark Ovenden traces the history of mass transit-including rare and historic maps, diagrams, and photographs, some available for the first time since their original publication. Transit Maps is the g...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published October 30th 2007 by Penguin Books (first published 2003)
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Richard
Nov 20, 2007 Richard rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: world travelers, transit buffs AND map designers
This is the book I wanna marry!....

OK, maybe I've been cuddling with it too long (those of you who know me will understand). Or is possible that this is a book I might have written myself if I'd thought anyone else gave a good goddamn about this topic? (The Brits, to their credit, are far less self-conscious about eccentric/loony interests, have a greater tradition of ministering to like-minded loons, and seem less hell-bent on publishing only best-sellers to sustain the publishing industry.)

Whi...more
Cave
Aug 26, 2008 Cave added it
Shelves: travel
I’ve discovered a love for oversized coffee table books. Unwieldy troves of trivia, in them novelty wins. I’d buy one browse it for a couple months. They’re books to enjoy slowly, over time, digesting niblets of facts on some geeky, specialized subject. Mark Ovenden’s Transit Maps of the World fills this niche, it makes the journey worthwhile.

In the preface, he smartly defines a transit system. Urban transit maps remain the book’s primary focus, though, while questionable to some, he defends the...more
Kay
I adore maps, the stuff that travelers' dreams are made of. This book is a delight both as eye candy (what, pray tell, is more satisfying than the London Tube map?) and as food for thought. Consider, dear reader, the humble subway map. So many forms, so much history in a simple line drawing.

The material on the history of various transit systems is a real treat for those whose journeys are, not infrequently, subterranean. This is a geography lesson as well as a transit lesson. I pull this book f...more
Jonathan
This book is fascinating and fabulous. The transit maps of every (or close to every) metro/subway/light rail/etc. in the world, with commentary (ranging from a paragraph for the small ones to several pages for New York, etc) about each one. The sheer number of transit maps all by itself is great, but the details of how the larger systems evolve (Berlin had an interesting history, for example) really makes the book shine.

We picked this up at the museum store of the Walters Art Gallery, which has...more
Patrick
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Daniel Kukwa
It’s the ultimate picture book for over-grown adults, it’s a coffee table book to end all coffee table books, and it’s a collection of graphic design genius. If reading a book aspires to be a sensual experience, Transit Maps of the World takes such ambition to its logical conclusion. Mind you, all of this could simply be the opinion of my four year old self…a boy with the burning ambition to become a bus driver. ;-)

Erika
No really, I want to decoupage my living room walls in transit maps! This book is very interesting and a lot of fun to look!!
Patrick
I wish, oh I wish that this gem had been updated a tad. And that it was longer, thicker.
Phil
Jan 23, 2008 Phil rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Modern Marvel watchers
Recommended to Phil by: Katy
If someone asks you what your favorite TV show is and your answer is 'Modern Marvels' get in your car and drive REAL FAST down to the nearest decent bookstore and get yourself a copy of this book. It is a veritable pig-wallow of pleasure for people who risk divorce when they stop walking forward to take pictures in subway stations. This book has everything for the enthusiast. First of all you can track the development of your favorite subway systems (those of you who have favorite subway systems...more
Christopher
Although this was a fun read, it left me a little depressed. The entries on various susbways systems are definitely interesting. The author seems a bit torn between presenting the history of each ssystem and focusing on the design choices of the system maps. I understand they are related, but it can lead to some of the shorter descriptions feeling abit disjointed as the narrative shifts focus. I admit to be more interested in the history of the systems than the design aspects of the maps.

The rea...more
Zioluc
Raccolta e catalogazione delle mappe dei trasporti pubblici urbani delle città di tutto il mondo. Sono raggruppate a seconda della quantità di materiale storico (vecchie mappe) che è stato possibile reperire.
L'autore è chiaramente un ossessivo compulsivo in cerca di sfogo ma il tema ha un suo interesse dal punto di vista urbano e del design.
Stephanie
I love taking public transit, especially when I'm traveling on vacation. I have an (untested) theory that there are more pop songs featuring public transportation in Europe than in the US because people use trains and subways more in Europe. So I like this book because it is, in essence, singing the praise of the urban metro. Part history, part art criticism, this is a fun book that shows the development of transit systems in 97 countries around the world. One of my favorites is the story of the...more
Mark
Anyone who knows me knows that I love mass transit, especially subway systems. As a west coaster, we don't have many of those around here. It takes me 2.5 hours to get to work via LA's mass transit instead of the 45 minutes it takes me to drive!

But when I go on vacation I love to use mass transit, love to study the maps, I even love to take the buses! That's why this coffee table book was on my Christmas list, and it was great fun to page through it.

The beginning of the book has multi-page treat...more
Sarah
This isn't a book to read straight through -- it's more fun to flip through and look at the different maps, and I found it particularly interesting to read about systems I was familiar with. Despite the title, the book is focused mostly on subways and the way they have been portrayed on maps, so it's more of a graphic design book than it is a transportation theory book. The authors are big fans of the Metro in Madrid, and indeed all of Spain (I wholeheartedly agree), but they're also fond of BAR...more
cheeseblab
Talk about your perfect bathroom book! I would have loved to have a chance to edit this--to correct the author's apparent misconception, e.g., that infamous means really, really famous--but you don't read a book like this for literary quality. You read a book like this to discover things like that the Loop in Chicago is named for the central feature of the elevated train = el = L ~ L . . . oop. You read it to have called to your attention that most classic subway maps feature only horizontal, ve...more
Ed
There is a lot to like about this book: it's breadth of coverage, its organizational structure, it's firm point of view. But it has many flaws. Many of the maps are too small to really see or appreciate. Some are low resolution and pixelated (Athens in particular). It could use more history on why transit systems and their maps evolved they way they did. But most crucially, it never explains why good map design is good. Why did 45 degree angles become the standard? Why are diagrammatic transit m...more
Coffeeboss
This is a gorgeous coffee-table-style book with big, glossy, colorful pages that is for anyone who likes to keep maps as souveniers from trips. Claiming to have subway/underground maps from ALL cities that have them, the book highlights the biggest transit systems (Zone 1, like NYC and London) to smaller systems with maybe one or two lines. There is also historical info about the systems, and maps throughout the years, with the author critiquing the graphic styles of the maps. I could look at th...more
Katy Dickinson
This fascinating new book "brings together for the first time in a single volume the official current metro maps and diagrams from over 100 of the world's major Subway, U-Bahn, Metro and Underground systems." My husband bought it for me after seeing it advertised in a railroad magazine. I keep it on my office table so I can share it. It does not have all urban train maps but it is the best collection I have ever seen. See my blog entry for more: http://blogs.sun.com/katysblog/entry/...
Jane
A fascinating book with lots of pictures of stations and graphics of transit system maps and other memorabilia showing the evolution of the system in each location. There is also a lot of information about how the mapping developed, different standards that make a readable map and alternative approaches tried by various cities. A must read for anyone interested in how public transit has developed and is communicated to people.
catechism
not the most narratively enthralling book I've ever read (in fact, the text is often downright bad and I kept wishing for fewer words and bigger pictures), veering somewhat inconsistently between the history of the system and the evolution of its branding, but I'm guessing anyone who's a nerd for maps, cities, subways, or graphic design would find this a worthwhile attention to their stack of coffee-table books.
Corné
Can you ever really say you have read it? I mean I find myself picking it from my bookcase time and again to look at the metro of, say, Berlin or a far less known subway system from around the world. But I guess you have to be a bit of a metro geek to truly appreciate this book (the type of person who needs to ride the local underground when visiting a new city). And I am, and I truly appreciate!
Erik
The perfect coffee table book in which the author lovingly presents - yes, he nailed the content of book with the title - transit maps of the world throughout history. It is interesting to see how MTA's visual representations evolved through the 20th century. And it is fun to trace former trips taken on transit systems in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Boston, Munich, Vienna, etc.
J
Jan 22, 2012 J rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: work
A very well curated collection of transit maps from across the globe. Big, old and famous systems like New York and London get several pages on the evolution of their maps and networks, while smaller systems like Budapest, Boston etc. get a page or a half. I'm more of a transit enthusiast than a graphic designer, who the book seems to be aimed it, but enjoyed it nonetheless.
Megan
This book contains amazing transit maps from pretty much every city, even cities like Portland and Minneapolis that just have a very, very underdeveloped commuter rail system. I just gazed at them all and marveled. I plan to borrow this again after I move and copy some of the transit system pics and color them in and hang them on my walls.
Erik
Started out very interesting, but since I am neither an extreme transit geek or map nerd, at 144 pages it is too long. The authors have one (correct) conclusion that is belabored throughout. The Platonic subway map is Harry Beck's 1933 map of the London Underground, and all other maps are successful only so far as they copy its features.
R.Friend
Absolutely wonderful.

Not only is it a terrific reference of every urban train map on Earth; it gives an added historical background of each, showing examples of earlier versions as well. A must-have for designers, cartographers, and subway buffs.
Magda
In spite of the ostentatious decor lavished on many stations, numerous examples of Moscow's braver cartographic efforts were hampered by years of restrictions on paper, printing, and use of color brought about by rationing and war.
Holly
Jul 03, 2008 Holly marked it as to-read
OK, so I actually just want to BUY it, not read it exactly. I found it after reading this fantastic, entertaining piece: http://niemann.blogs.nytimes.com/2008...
Katherine
Just awesome. A brief history of urban transit, but basically this is is maps of subway systems of major cities along with a description. Good stuff.
Graham
Absolutely fantastic! I spent hours pouring over station names and line shapes. Really interesting to see the historical development as well.
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Mark Ovenden is a British writer and broadcaster whose previous books include Transit Maps of the World and Paris Underground: The Maps, Stations and Designs of the Metro. He lives in Paris, France."
More about Mark Ovenden...
Paris Underground: The Maps, Stations, and Design of the Metro Railway Maps of the World London Underground by Design Paris Metro Style In Map And Station Design

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