Data nerds are loving subways on Reddit these days.
Subway maps aren’t really designed as accurate reflections of geography. They are designed to help people get around and they are made to fit onto signs and inside brochures, so that users can easily digest them. Here’ in New York, you don’t really need to know the proportional distance between the High Street stop and the Fulton Stop on the A/C. You just need to know that you can transfer to the 4/5/6 at Fulton.
Still, data is fun and the internet likes to play with things, so users on Reddit have been taking the subway maps that different systems publish for riders and matching the stops up with actual geography. The Washington Metro is really crazy, because it serves a lot of suburban locations. Once you get out to the edges of the line, the stops are, in fact, quite far apart. On the map, they look no further apart than the ones inside the city proper.
Several pseudonymous data visualizers have tried their hands at animating these maps, and the result has been a ton of fun GIFs, most of which can be found on the DataIsBeautiful subreddit.
Here are a seven sweet animated maps:
This last post seems to be the one that inspired it all. Good work @vinnivinnivinni. You started something great.