Metro and subway maps can tell us a lot about cities. For example, by comparing metro maps from different cities, you might be able to understand those cities’ relative size or level of development. Or, by comparing a metro map to an earlier version from the same city, you can learn about the pace of development being experienced in that city. What these “maps” rarely tell you with any reliability, though, is the actual geography of the city itself.
In a fascinating series of posts over at /r/dataisbeautiful earlier this year, Reddit users created GIFs comparing the official metro maps of cities around the world with the real geography those maps correspond to. The results show the incredible changes that cities are subjected to in the name of visual clarity: in cities such as London, Tokyo, and Berlin, transit maps expand the urban core, masking the density at these regions’ centers; in other cities such as Washington DC, shortened lines hide the extent of the city’s suburbs; while in some cities, entire neighborhoods are moved to the other side of the city to make the map layout more attractive (we’re looking at you, Prague). Read on to see 11 of the best creations by Reddit users.
New York City
GIF via Reddit user playhouse_animation
GIF via Reddit user Pham_Trinli
GIF via Reddit user barrettxav
GIF via Reddit user hlake
GIF via Reddit user vinnivinnivinni
GIF via Reddit user sweedishfishoreo
GIF via Reddit user –Ninja-
GIF via Reddit user stupidgit
GIF via Reddit user tomeczak
GIF via Reddit user Swordslayer
GIF via Reddit user vroidos
H/T The Guardian