“The map is not the territory” especially with NYC Subway maps

The quote, “The map is not the territory,” demonstrates a profound thought, and also a useful prompt for the TOK class. Before getting into connections between the quote and idea of models and metaphors, I wanted to put together a lesson on NYC subway maps (my school is in NYC). While doing so, I came across a bunch of different, and lovely, maps, each with its own representation of “reality.”

Click each image for a full size file.

1. Modern Day Subway Map

This is the map you see posted on the trains and subway platforms.

modern subway_map copy

2. “Accurate Subway Map”

This map includes more accurate representations of distance and other features. Notice also it is more accurately oriented according to a traditional North-South map axis. The one above unintentionally (intentionally?) reorients the map around Manhattan.

Screen Shot 2018-09-10 at 7.03.59 PM

3. NYC Station Map

This map focuses on the subway lines themselves and erases all other features.

 472stations-850miles

4. 1972 Massimo Vignelli Map

Much has been written about this map and the response it got. It put into practice the design principles (started in the London Underground Map designed by Harry C. Beck) that are used in many of the world’s systems. This map, though, did not receive a particularly positive reaction and was soon abandoned.

system_1972

If you’re interested in this topic, you can find a lot more maps and more information at: https://www.nycsubway.org/wiki/New_York_City_Subway_Track_Maps  (Click on the “Maps” tab at the top of that page).

 

 

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