All posts tagged “Europe

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New Vintage Map: 1931 Birds-Eye View of Berlin, Germany

1931_berlin_800px

After much work, I’ve finally finished digitally restoring another vintage rail transit map, this time a superb birds-eye pictorial map of Berlin, Germany in 1931. It’s full of awesome details (as you’ll see in some close up images below) and clearly shows the major railroads circling the city as red and white dashed lines, complete with little station sheds and labels for the major bahnhofs.

Prints for sale from $28 Zoomable Preview of Map

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Project: 1956 Paris Métro Map Digital Recreation

Long-time readers of my Transit Maps blog might know that one of my all-time favourite maps is this beautiful two-colour diagram of the Paris Métro from 1956. It’s stylish, beautiful to look at and easy to understand, even with just two printed colours — an elegant combination  of blue and gold. (The background could be a cream paper, or it might be just aged and yellowed white paper: it’s hard to tell!) While the scan from the original source is high-resolution, it’s oversharpened and not suitable for anything other than viewing on a screen. So — as is my wont — I decided to redraw it in Adobe Illustrator, making it completely vector-based.

1956 Paris Metro (2 Color)

Blue and Gold Map: Prints from $30

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Vaporetto

Vaporetto

Camera: Nikon Zoom 140ED (film camera)

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Society6 – Prints from $16

A photo taken on a fog-shrouded morning in Venice, Italy back in 2003. I’m on the bow of another canal ferry (called a vaporetto locally), which had just pushed off from the Ferrovia (railway station) wharf and was standing by as this other vaporetto came in to dock.

The way that the fog makes the buildings along the canal disappear into nothingness, with the ferry emerging from that emptiness is what makes this shot for me.

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Early Morning, Amsterdam

Early Morning, Amsterdam

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350)
Lens: Canon EF-S 17–85mm f/4–5.6
Exposure: 1/60
Aperture: f/7.1
Focal Length: 17mm
ISO Speed: 100

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Society6 – Prints from $19

Amsterdam’s Red Light District likes to party hard most of the way through the night, which means that you have the area pretty much to yourself if you get up early enough in the morning.

Exploring the beautiful canals in the soft morning light was a peaceful experience and allowed me the time to find and compose shots like this without hordes of people crossing my view.

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Bike Culture

BikeCulture

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350)
Lens: Canon EF-S 17–85mm f/4–5.6
Exposure: 1/60
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 85mm
ISO Speed: 100

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Society6 – Prints from $16

Colourful bikes against a blue wall outside a bicycle tour business in Amsterdam. The bright, anodised colours are definitely what drew me to take this photo in the first place, and I framed my shot nice and tight to crop out any extraneous detail, keeping only the repeating patterns of the bike frames. Processing in Lightroom intentionally emphasised the image’s contrast and colour saturation.

Portland is considered a pretty “bike-friendly” city by American standards, and I commute by bike to work almost every day. However, we have absolutely nothing on Amsterdam: bikes are almost ubiquitous there, with fully separated bike lanes in many parts of the city, as well as giant, secure parking stations dotted around the city. Absolutely incredible!

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Polder

Polder

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350)
Lens: Canon EF-S 17–85mm f/4–5.6
Exposure: 1/160
Aperture: f/8
Focal Length: 44mm
ISO Speed: 100

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Society6 – Prints from $16

On a flight out of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport back in 2009, I was in a window seat facing towards the sun – a challenge for good photography, but very rewarding when things go right. Soon after take off, the plane banked slightly, and I could snap this photo of the long, narrow fields below. Filtered afternoon light, long shadows and those beautiful silvery/gold irrigation canals full of water created a shimmery delight.

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Project: High Speed Train Routes of France Transit Diagram

TGV Diagram

Society6 – Large Poster: $34 Society6 – X-Large Poster: $50

Presenting my next transit-styled diagram, this time showing all the high speed train routes that pass through France. This includes the French (SNCF) TGV trains, the Eurostar trains from London, the Thalys services from Belgium and the Netherlands, and some ICE services from Germany that operate in tandem with corresponding TGV services from France. It does not show high speed trains that do not pass through France: for example, the ICE train from Amsterdam to Germany does not pass through France, so is not shown.

Research for this diagram was particularly tricky as no one source outlines all the routes in one comprehensive listing. I had to compile the information from various sources, none more valuable than the amazing Deutsche Bahn web timetable, which I have fond memories of using in 2003 as I caught trains all over Europe while backpacking.

Once I started the diagram, the sheer amount of high speed services in France initially overwhelmed me, and it was a long while before things formed a coherent pattern for me. Once I worked out the complex routing of trains out of and around Paris, things began to fall into place. I decided that colour-coding would try to reflect the origin of the train, so all trains out of the Gare de l’Est in Paris are variations of green, for example,while all Thalys routes are a shade of the rolling stock’s distinctive maroon. I find it particularly interesting how the initially homogeneous colours become more mixed the further from Paris you get, especially towards Marseille, where lines from all over France begin to converge towards their final destination.

It’s interesting to note that the equivalent diagram in America would consist of one route – the Acela Express from New York to Washington, DC – and even that barely qualifies as “high speed”. Fast by American standards, maybe…

But do note that these trains do not necessarily travel at their maximum speed (up to 300km/ per hour or 185 miles/hour) on all the routes shown. To attain these speeds, the trains have to run on specially-built tracks, which currently are only on the highest density parts of the system. However, all these routes use TGV/Eurostar/Thalys/ICE rolling stock, which is the criterion for inclusion on this diagram.

My favourite parts of the diagram include the grand loop around Paris to the east, the complex interplay of routes around Lille, and the subtle inclusion of the Winter routes to the French Alps without having to accord them an entire route from start to finish: more complexity is not what this diagram needs!

As always, comments are always welcome!

Large JPG Preview of TGV Map Zoomable On-line Preview of TGV Map

Update: March 3rd, 2011: New version of the diagram with a new route added from Melun to Marseille (Don’t know how I missed that one!). Routes from Le Havre to Strasbourg and Cherbourg to Dijon were deleted, as these “experimental” (and poorly patronised) routes stopped running in December 2010. Winter services to Evian and Saint-Gervais also added. Finally, the station names have been made a little larger.

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Project: European E-Road System as a Subway Diagram

E-Road Map

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Interstate System? Europe laughs at your petty Interstate System, America. In 1975, the United Nations Economic and Social Council’s Economic Commission for Europe ratified a document outlining international traffic arteries through Europe and beyond. Commonly known as E-Roads, these highways criss-cross Europe in much the same way that the Interstate system does the United States, but with even more roads and even longer routes.

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New Moscow Metro Diagram

Words cannot express how much I love this redesign of the Moscow Metro diagram. It’s clean, stylish, informational and gorgeous. The repetition of the famous Circle Line at interchange stations is particularly nice.

Do yourself a favour and visit the design studio’s site for a closer look. The “Process” tab is especially worthwhile, as they run through the decisions that led to the final version in great detail. Also note that this took four years of work to get to this stage!

If you find this post interesting, then you’d probably like my Transit Maps blog, where I analyse and discuss transit maps from around the world: past, present or future, real or fantasy. Click here to take a look!