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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 14 November 2003
I was given this book as a present last week and have been dipping in to it every day since. It is not just a book of maps - it is a book about maps and the text really brings things together. Although it is worth buying just for the pictures it is actually worth reading as well
I have never really thought about underground maps as maps before - just diagrams, but this book really opened my eyes.
Underground maps are such a synthesis of design functionality and art and this book brings them alive.
I will never look at a London tube map in the same light again.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 9 December 2003
Mark Ovenden has done an excellent job in compiling all the world's underground maps. He compares and analyzes the different styles, contrasts the maps with older, often rare historic editions. The most important metro cities are also illustrated with nice colour photos. All in all a great book for any metro enthusiats.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 21 November 2003
This book will appeal to so many different readers, from those casually browsing the excellent coloured diagrams...to those wanting to gain an insight into the history of how the metro-systems came about. You don't even have to be a connoisseur of the metro to enjoy this book. Use it as a reference or keep it on the coffee table, once you open the pages from the first to the last, you'll learn something new.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 14 September 2005
This is one of the most amazing books you will ever own! An absolute MUST for anyone who has ever travelled in a foreign city and a revelation if you have never looked into the history of your own local subway.
Students of Graphic Design will be enthralled as nothing like this has ever appeared before enabling side by side comparisons of almost 200 different cities' maps.
Its one of those books you don't necessarily see the immediate appeal of but as soon as you open it and see the inherent beauty and good design of a subway map from another city you'll be compelled to leaf thru and check all the places you've ever been, then come back and look through all the other cities. The similarities - and the differences will keep this book on your coffee table for months I promise!
This new edition is even better than the previous version, which in itself was an awesome collection of fascinating material from across the entire planet!
There seems to be many more illustrations now (the publishers claim almost 700 in a 144 page book) and more photo's of subway systems to compliment the maps themselves, a most welcome addition.
Small gaps in the history of certain major cities seem to have been filled (Paris, Montreal, Budapest, Madrid, Moscow, Kiev) and it seems almost every major map has been updated to the 2005 edition...making this now surely the leading world reference book on transit map design.
Also the author appears to have taken a more pragmatic view of cities whose maps do not conform to the international standard set by British designer Harry Beck.
Only criticism is that it's very hard to get hold of this book outside Britain - a bit of shame for a book with such a world focus, but thank God for amazon.co.uk!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 13 January 2004
What more can I say? - Well, this is rather more than just a collection of maps, it amounts to an essay on design, showing how pure-topographical maps have become stylised to show just the 'logical' structure of metros, and how the use of typography, colour and symbols can create an image for a metro system and a city as a whole. Ovenden also uses the maps to hang brief histories and surveys of the metro systems from, so the book's also a concise history of urban, underground and light rail.
Some fairly blurred reproduction of a couple of maps, and where did all the letter 'l's go on the Merseyrail map? - but otherwise difficult to fault. Handsomely-produced, with enough text to guide the reader through the book, and, most important of all, a lot of maps!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 12 November 2003
I know the title may sound a bit anorakish, but you have to see this book to believe it. If you are a hardened traveller it is a complete must have. The maps of the various metro's etc are brilliant and really useful and it truly is a guide book as well as a complete history of these brilliant ways to travel around. I heard an interview with the author and apparently he's visited quite a few of these places and he's looking in to making a smaller version of the book so it travels better. If you're a businessperson that also travels around a lot, get this book. It'll give you something to do during deadtime on the plane and get you ready for the metro at your place of destination. A must have if you're visiting somewhere for the first time. I'm surprised someone hasn't come up with a book like this before. Well done Mark, nice one and thanks from all us travellers!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 May 2011
The second edition dates from 2005 and features over 100 systems in its 144 pages. It does not draw a distinction between metros and suburban transit systems. The division of the book into "Zones" is a bit obscure, relating as it does to the amount of historical information available for each system. Zone 1 has a lot to tell (29 pages for 8 systems), while Zone 6 has only the briefest mention of the system parameters. As you might expect, North American and Europe feature prominently. One interesting feature is that it discusses the history of metro map-making in various countries and demonstrates why a stylised map can work better than an topographically accurate one.
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on 4 April 2014
Very interesting. I had no idea so many cities had underground systems. Has anyone travelled on them all? I wonder.
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0 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on 21 April 2005
Great idea for a book, great selection of material. As usual according to little-englander Mark, Johnny Foreigner (especially the French) is incompetent.
They are born incompetent, and they will stay so until they get some helpful advice (that they initially in their ignorance will turn down) from one of the geniuses that lives outre-manche. Oh please.
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