- Feb 2, 2017
Not only are you intimidatingly smart, many of you are professional experts in the topics we try to cover. Others are self-taught aficionados in urban planning or cartography—in other words, obsessive city-stuff superfans.
That may be the case with Michael Graham, who sent CityLab an actual snail-mail lettera few weeks back with a QR code linking us to his Spider Bike Maps page.
His cool idea: Make maps for bike infrastructure as if the lanes, trails, and paths constituted a connected transit system.
Graham became fascinated with London’s bus maps on a family vacation there in 2004. The bus route diagrams in London are sometimes referred to as “spider maps” and they are designed to help make bus routes as intuitive as the lines of the London Underground for the people that use them.
A simplified spider map of London’s bike trails. (Michael Graham)
Later on, Graham learned all about Harry Beck, the draftsman who broke from geographic fidelity to devise a stylized map for the London Underground. Beck drew inspiration from an electrical schematic to create the prototypical transit map for the system in 1931. He used colors to represent different subway lines and made the lines intersect at either 45 or 90 degree angles. “The map of almost every subway system in the world has converged upon some approximation of Beck’s design,” Graham says. “I think people appreciate the simplicity; it makes complex information easier to understand.”