This weekend, I created a map of the (very much non-existent) Nijmegen metro network.
My mother-in-law is very fond of the 'abstract' maps that are in use to depict subway systems everywhere in the world. She has a framed London subway map in the living room, and when we visit a city with a subway system, we always take a map back with us for her.
At the beginning of this year, I bought Campaign Cartographer to create maps for my Streamdales campaign. Since then, I've made quite a few maps and experimented with various mapping styles. I also bought a few of the Annuals: monthly content featuring a new map style or some trick to use in your own mapping. And one of those was the Abstract Map -- featuring the London subway map as inspiration.
Nijmegen, the city where I live, is growing bigger and bigger now that it has annexed Lent, the village just across the river Waal -- lots of houses are being built there. Soon, the second road bridge will be opened so that the people living in the city can get around a lot better (bringing the total of bridges up to three: two road bridges and one rail bridge that also has a bicycle lane next to it).
A bigger city means more people to move around. And there are a few traditional choke points in the road infrastructure that are hard to avoid: there's the central square Keizer Karel where six busy roads meet. The central station and the bridges are far removed from the university and the semiconductor factory, which are the biggest employers in the city.
So why not see if I could come up with a metro system for Nijmegen? It would be a nice excercise in furthering my expertise in CC, and it's an interesting project to think about.
I started out by creating a huge Google Maps 'screenshot' that was large enough to cover the whole of Nijmegen in such a resolution that the street names were readable. (I used the trick explained in this excellent video tutorial to do that.) It was a bit of fiddling with the settings to get the map I needed, but in the end I had a map that was 9283 x 7533 pixels that covered the whole area I wanted to work on.
I started a new map in CC3, using the 'Annual Subway Map' style, and created a new sheet where I read in the PNG of the huge Google Maps screenshot. Using this as a template, I drew the metro lines as I envisioned them:
(There is a HUGE full-sized version here -- but this is the full sized map, 9238 x 7533 pixels big! On the other hand, that makes it possible to read the street names and see where exactly I put the stations.)
[How I decided on where to draw the metro lines]The main thoroughfare for workers and students at the university is the St. Annastraat, which runs from the Keizer Karelplein along the hospital and the west-side of the university campus. I thought that this should be the first line to be created: from the Central Station to the edge of Nijmegen, with stops along the way for these high-traffic areas. I drew the line and drew the stops.
(As for the names of the stops: I really like the short names that the Antwerp pre-metro uses: "Beurs", "Diamant" and stuff like that. I tried to emulate that -- and more often than not, I could simply take the name of the street where the station would be and strip 'street' or 'road' from the name and have a fantastic name for the station. For instance, there's the "Wolfkuilseweg", which roughly translate to "Wolf Pit Road". "Wolfskuil" is a terrific name, and I would guess we'd get (local) artists to decorate the stations with art that reflects the name of the station.)
The second line that would be built is to ferry people from Lent (across the Waal) into the city. The road bridge from Lent is a notorious choke point, and so anything that might help there is an added bonus. With more and more houses being built in Lent, it becomes more and more important to get as many people as possible into the city during the morning rush hour. And so the Lentlijn ('lijn' is 'line' in Dutch) was conceived: running from the transfer parking at the north side of the village all the way to the central station. I had it run along the existing rail bridge.
And then I thought the Lentlijn should extend all the way to Dukenburg, a suburb that was created in the '70s -- what's happening in Lent now happened there back then. Dukenburg station is a major transport hub: there's a train station and a large bus station, so it would make sense to have a metro station there as well. (And there's a large shopping mall and the ice rink, which makes it a good spot to have a station.) The road from the central station to Dukeburg runs roughly along the Graafseweg and the Wijchenseweg, but I wanted to make a slight detour to include a stop at 52 degrees: a large recent development near the semiconductor factory. That way, workers at the factories and design companies there could easily travel to work too.
(The bus station at Dukenburg is, by the way, called Brabantse Poort, which is why I named the stop like that.)
The Oranjesingel is another major road, running from the Keizer Karel Plein to the road bridge to Lent. I thought it would be good to have a line there too -- but it was kinda short. So I extended it to the villages just outside of Nijmegen: to Beek in one direction (stopping at the St. Maartenskliniek specialised hospital too) and on the other side to Weurt and Beuningen. This way, people who live in these villages that are depedant on the services of the city can get to the city centre (and the various work places there) with ease as well, further helping with easing congestion.
By then, it would be time to extend the St. Annalijn to Oosterhout, the other village on the north side of the Waal that's been annexed and heavily extended by Nijmegen. From Centraal, the line would go the Energieweg (servicing the industry area there) and then go north (across the Waal on the new road bridge that hasn't been opened yet) to Oosterhout.
Because I live in Lindenholt (like Dukenburg a suburb, but then built in the '80s), I wanted to have my own metro line as well! Starting at the Energieweg ("Energy road" -- there's an electricity plant there) the Lindenlijn would stop at an industry area across the canal, at the large school (that is currently being built), through our quarter (with a stop near the office where we work!) to Brabantse Poort.
The school has many pupils from Beuningen who could change at Energie to get to school. Pupils from Wijchen could get on at Brabantse Poort, where all busses from Wijchen stop.
The east side of the campus gets many students and workers as well, and there's a high-tech office park there as well as some student housing complexes. The manor that stood where the university is now, was called Heyendaal, and so the Heyendaallijn was conceived, running roughly parallel to the St. Annalijn to the south. Just so that the city centre (actually not the center, but the part where all the stores are) would not feel left out, I extended the Heyendaallijn past Karel towards the lower city.
Looking at my map, I saw there were still a few areas under-served by my metro network. And so the Hatertlijn (named after the village of Hatert which has been 'captured' by the city), the line would run from Neerbosch Oost, along the CWZ hospital and terminate at the Steve Biko Plein.
By then, I was pretty pleased with the lines and the placement of the stations and it was time to make the abstract map. While the map itself might be abstract, there is at least a relationship with the real geography of the city: north in reality is still north on the map. Randomly drawing lines on the map wasn't going to cut it: I wanted to have a roughly square layout of the map.
[Designing the abstract map]Looking at the geographical placement of the stations, I determined that the triangle Centraal - Karel - Dobbelman were the three most central (and most busy) stations. They would go into the center of the map. From there, it made sense to have the Lentlijn and the north branch of the St. Annalijn to go up. The south branch would go straight down from Karel, that's also how the real street runs.
The Heyendaallijn would run parallel to the St. Annalijn after a bit of a bend, and the east branch of the Oranjelijn would run parallel to that -- making the bend at Trajanus 90 degrees to get the square layout. The west branch runs almost due west in reality, so I extended that straight to the west on the abstract map.
In reality, Brabantse Poort is at about the same north-coordinate as the university. So I made the west-branch of the Lentlijn meander a bit and then terminate at roughly the same height. I did place it at the same west-coordinate for Beuningen on my abstract map, to create the left-side edge of the map.
I had to think about the Lindenlijn for a bit, but then decided to have it run diagonally across the abstract map from Energie to Brabantse Poort -- that gave the cleanest look and actually approaches the layout of the line. The Hatertlijn rounds the corner from 52 to Steve Biko, completing the south edge of the map.
Some of the station names on the Heyendaallijn are quite long, so I had to decrease the font size to make it fit -- unfortunately. But placing the St. Annalijn further to the left on the map would give problems with the Lentlijn.
And here is the final version of the Nijmegen Metro Network map:
I'm pretty pleased with the result, and I can't wait until these metro lines are built! ;)