on 20 June 2011
What would have been a marvellous book has been spoiled by cramming several maps on to one page at a time. Others disagree, but I think that being able to view the station names would have been an advantage, and I for one would have paid four times the cost of this book had it done so. Not everyone would of course.
The problem is compounded with schematic maps, where knowing the country's geography would not help you overcome the legibility issue. Legibilty was not considered by the author to be one of his criteria for inclusion of a map. Accordingly, I would consider that half the maps are illegible, although there are enough legible ones to make the book a good buy at the price.
Nevertheless, there are several gems included in this book and they are not to be found elsewhere with any ease. Some are design masterpieces, such as the curvilinear Tokyo area map.
Included is Harry Beck's unpublished 1938 map of the Underground and pre-nationalisation main line system, with some stations with the old names and some closed lines. Being a Londoner, this is the most relevant map to me in the whole book. Harry Beck's work was not appreciated at the time, but it is now recognised as one of the greatest contributions to public transport and design. I think he got paid five guineas for designing the tube map. Looking back at some of the awful maps I have of the 1960s produced by British Rail, you can see how far ahead of his time was Harry Beck. ATOC and TFL have only caught up with his 1938 map in the last five to ten years.
on 25 July 2011
Metro Maps of the World was not perfect, but highly enjoyable - Mark Ovenden used the same recipe here, but the result is sadly disappointing, .. just a far too easy collection of maps that are not even easily readable. It is not worth the price.