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cartographic design

In an Advanced Cartographic Design course in the Spring of 2020, we were assigned a final project of an atlas. My project partner and I created a thematic atlas on metro systems around the world. Below you will find images of the atlas pages and brief captions about the design process. Scroll to the bottom to read a brief write up about this project.

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This project was an equal effort of Alexa and I; Alexa sourced all of our data and created the maps of subway lines and all aerial imagery. I researched and wrote all textual descriptions and facts, as well as designed the covers, table of contents, intro and source pages. 

Front and back cover design was inspired to be a modern feel with simplistic metro lines and bold complimentary colors. The sharp lines and rounded circles also provide an element of visual contrast.

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Countries were chosen primarily by data availability and with the goal of covering most continents. 


Alexa and I both collaborated to create the four various layouts utiilized in the atlas. Alexa was responsible for producing the first 5 cities (pages 2-11) and Heather the last 5 cities (pages 12-21).

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This was my first time working with Adobe Illustrator and InDesign, as well as creating layout designs. There was a large learning curve but I learned very quickly some of the basic ins and outs with working in a graphic design project.

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Metro Systems: reimagined

This atlas is created to be a perspective atlas on metro systems from around the world. It has been designed for a general audience from city tourists to transportation enthusiasts. With the purpose of providing a means to explore a new perspective of spatial understanding of the transportation world beneath our feet, we have designed four layouts to cover ten cities around the world to display: a map of each city’s metro system, an aerial photo of a familiar place within the city with metro lines overlaid, facts and figures about each city’s transportation and metro usage and statistics, and text description of the metro system and the city it services as well as photographs.


We utilized various governmental, transportation, ESRI and open-source data sources to create a reliable, up-to-date and accurate atlas full of colorful and modern maps. Our overall design tactic was to create a modern feel to this metro atlas, using a warm-hue color scheme (primarily purple, pinks, reds and oranges) with cold-hue (blues, teals, grays) color contrast, sleek fonts, and bold shapes.

Limitations were presented in the study due to issues like the change of classroom setting due to COVID-19 and the inability to meet in a person-to-person setting. Some limitations include the varying scales of the maps and station generalization. The purpose of this atlas is to build the connection between the underground transportation system and the world above ground as we know it. Despite the complications faced by language barriers, data availability, and COVID-19, we believe this project to be an overall success.

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