Justin O'Beirne

Justin O'Beirne of San Francisco, California. Essays, projects, and contact information.



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I keep thinking of our subway maps from What Happened to Google Maps?:

Similar to subway maps, our maps below are simple network maps. The roads are the lines, and the cities are the stations. And there’s basically nothing else labeled on these maps, other than roads and cities (lines and stations):

But it’s strange:

Google is good at labeling the lines—but not the stations.

And Apple’s good at labeling the stations—but not the lines.

We're only getting half of the picture on each map. And both maps seem imbalanced, don’t they?

If only we could take the best of both maps above—Google’s road labels and Apple’s city labels—and somehow combine them together…

*   *   *

Let’s try a little experiment with our two z8 maps:

We’ll take the Google Map, but we’ll remove its city labels—and we’ll take the Apple Map, and we’ll remove its shield:

(The maps actually don’t look too different with those labels removed.)

Now let’s combine the two maps together:

And let’s make it even larger:

There are a few overlapping labels—but overall, the information density on our combined map is interesting.

Let’s reposition the overlapping labels and enhance the map’s contrast to make it a little easier to read:

That doesn’t look half bad.

And now let’s compare our Frankenstein map to its parents:

The information density on the combined map is interesting. Perhaps a bit too busy, but certainly interesting.

And at least we're now seeing the whole picture.


*   *   *


So far, we’ve only been looking at Cities and Roads. Let’s move on to a different part of the map: Places.


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