Subway Illustrator Program/Webapp?
January 28, 2010 11:19 AM   Subscribe

Help my non-designer friend make good-looking subway maps! What program/webapp can mimic the DC Metro system map style but with a very small learning curve?

My friend likes designing future versions of the DC Metro -- adding new lines, extending others, etc. He's using Google Earth at the moment, but is there anything else he might use that would produce something pretty that he can share? He has limited skill with GIMP, so traditional vector programs like Illustrator or Inkscape would be beyond his capabilities.

Being able to trace on top of the existing metro map would also be pretty handy, I imagine.

Thanks for any help!
posted by cowbellemoo to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
Colored pencils, paper, a ruler, and a scanner.
posted by bengarland at 11:44 AM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Having a cheap graphics tablet would probably help a lot.
posted by grouse at 11:58 AM on January 28, 2010


It's certainly possible I'll be proven wrong, but I doubt there are any programs that will make creating vector images like that even easier than using GIMP etc. I agree with bengarland: His best bet is using pen and paper.
posted by elisabethjw at 11:59 AM on January 28, 2010


Perhaps omnigraffle?

GIMP isn't really equivalent to Illustrator or Inkscape—they're conceptually different. Any program is going to require some learning to use effectively.
posted by adamrice at 12:16 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


What program/webapp can mimic the DC Metro system map style but with a very small learning curve?

The map is a finely honed piece of graphic design. Above all else, this requires raw talent. There is no software that 'mimics' the creative brain of an experienced designer, in the same way there is no software that mimics the brain of Caravaggio.

If your friend wants to make maps like that, he's needs to learn how to translate what's in his brain into some kind of vector drawing software package like Illustrator or Inkscape.
posted by ReiToei at 12:45 PM on January 28, 2010


Inkscape is as easy as vector graphics get, and it is free.
posted by fake at 12:45 PM on January 28, 2010


Seconding Omnigraffle, which I used to create this derivative of the London tube map for my New Years Card.
posted by j-dawg at 12:49 PM on January 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Omnigraffle looks perfect. I found a little shapes pack with subway-map-esque elements for it, too. Thanks a bunch.

(Very nice map, j-dawg!)
posted by cowbellemoo at 1:25 PM on January 28, 2010


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