DC Metro Spiral (Names)

Take that, geospatial relationships.


I misread an advertisement on a bus shelter in Trondheim...it was just a bunch of product-related icons sorted on a few spiraling lines, but at first glance I thought it was a transit map... it gave me an idea. I immediately made my way back to my hostel & sketched it out in the only software I had handy at the moment -- Microsoft Paint (1st draft)


Behold: DC Metro ... in a spiral.


I've loved the response to this, though one thing that's been really interesting has been the multitude of interpretations -- largely around what constitutes a "map". My two cents: a map is something you can use to get from point A to point B... it doesn't have to be efficient, so long as all the information is there. It doesn't even have to be geographical: it could be a mapped out strategy for any variety of things. But in the geographic sense: this map has all that you need to navigate the system. My opinion is that it's a map... it's just not a useful one.




This includes Farragut Crossing but passes over a couple more complex details such as the Yellow Line running to Greenbelt, Blue Line using the Yellow Line Bridge, and I made a number of names a touch more concise. This should be the final version barring any major glaring errors, though I might add in those two omissions... no reason I can't other than a preference to get some sleep.


It was really quite fortunate that all the lines & stations fit together such that this was even feasible. Even more: I could alternate between hot and cold colors to help maintain contrast. It only took me about 30 minutes to determine it was possible & to lay out its general form, though quite a bit longer to try and make it somewhat aesthetic. I kind of wish I could make the spiral a bit more compact, but my Illustrator skills only went so far and How To videos didn't seem to cover that goal.



Designed in Adobe Illustrator CS5 ... a program with which I know not what I do



1st draft

2nd draft

3rd draft




2012 03 xx - Featured on Infographic Database


2011 11 18 - Featured on Stochasticity


2011 11 18 - Featured on Fuck Yeah Cartography!


2011 11 16 - Featured on Transit Maps


2011 11 03 - Used by We Love DC


2011 07 25 - Used by DC Chillin'


2011 07 20 - Linked in Bernie Wagenblast's daily Transportation Communications Newsletter


2011 07 19 - Shared by the Sun Foundation


2011 07 19 - Featured on Human Transit


2011 07 19 - Featured on Greater Greater Washington


2011 07 19 - Used on Prince of Petworth


2011 07 14 - 2nd draft made the evening links on DCist


2011 07 14 - 2nd draft retweeted by perkinsms


2011 07 14 - 2nd draft retweeted by wmataplusside

  • Michael Perkins PRO 4y

    Printed and hung on my office door to freak people out. Thanks!
  • dmcnitt 4y

  • thisisbossi PRO 4y

    Michael Perkins That's awesome! While on the train back from work today I couldn't help but smile when I spotted an adjacent rider staring at it on her phone.
  • wfjeff 4y

    The problem with this is that if you lived on the edge of the city and you wanted to commute to the center (like most commuters), it would take forever. If you added some spokes though running crisscrossing it, it would be a really efficient transit model.
  • A P 4y

    Brilliant work, Bossi. may I share this on Transportgooru.com with proper credits?
  • thisisbossi PRO 4y

    Absolutely- it'd be appreciated if you could include a link back to the photo, too. Enjoy!
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Taken on July 19, 2011
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