There’s more going on in a subway map than just tracing lines through stops. The most impor­tant quality of a transit map is that it be easily leg­ible, even when glanced across a crowded rush-​​hour car. Looking at it, you should be able to figure out how this net­work of col­ored lines and pips trans­lates to the real city out­side, but geo­graphic fidelity is often a sec­ondary consideration.

Still, you might be sur­prised by just how inac­cu­rate your local subway map is com­pared to the topo­graphic truth of the city. Cre­ated by Ben­jamin Schmidt, an assis­tant pro­fessor of his­tory at Boston’s North­eastern Uni­ver­sity who we’ve written about before, this visu­al­iza­tion warps the maps of three subway sys­tems to overlay their actual city grids.

Read the article at Fast Company →