Man, the beltway sure is a pretty octagon!
December 28, 2006 1:00 PM   Subscribe

Is there a geographically accurate map of the DC metro system? Like this London tube map?
posted by phrontist to Travel & Transportation around Washington, DC (11 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Will this do?
posted by cerebus19 at 1:07 PM on December 28, 2006

Best answer: There's one here, sort of.

(Your London has completely wrong routes between stations, btw)
posted by cillit bang at 1:15 PM on December 28, 2006

Best answer: This isn't a complete answer, but if you look down in the metro stations, each one has a map of the local neighborhood, with the metro lines shown on it. They are fairly close to (but not the same as) the StationMasters neighborhood maps, available online. Unfortunately they don't show the whole system, just the part of it around each station. I have some doubts about the accuracy of the metro tunnels shown on them, too. (The curves seem to be in the wrong places and radiused too tight.)

I have seen a very large-scale map of Arlington County that shows the actual metro lines; it was in the front hall of one of the fire stations (Falls Church, I think). It looked like a government publication of some sort; I suspect if you asked around (and reassured people that you're not a "terrorist") you might be able to get a copy.

The best thing I've been able to find online are either the Google Maps overlay provided by Metro, or the combined bus/rail system maps that you can download in sections as PDF files. (You can download them here, for example this is the NOVA one.) They are principally bus maps, but they show the metro lines on there, too.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:17 PM on December 28, 2006

I had a map like this when I was a kid in Montgomery County, so I know it exists or has existed.
posted by escabeche at 1:20 PM on December 28, 2006

If you're willing to buy one, all of the ADC map books (like the Greater Washington, DC map book have an accurate Metro map (and, additionally, they have the Metro overlayed on their street level maps)). And StationMasters Maps (both the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. poster and the StationMasters DC Wayfinder) have an area map with fairly accurate lines (at least more so than the stylized official maps).
posted by skynxnex at 1:21 PM on December 28, 2006

As far as interactive ones go, there's also this.
posted by cerebus19 at 1:32 PM on December 28, 2006

There's also an interactive map with layers at - again, not the entire system at a glance.
posted by grateful at 1:43 PM on December 28, 2006

Best answer: the 4x6 ft poster size version i have on the wall cost something like $10, but is *so* worth it. it's got the metro lines and stops overlain upon a street-map of the entire district that has every road labeled in tiny, but readable, text.

the reference info in the legend reads: Alexandria Drafting Co. (ADC), stock #31600 "Washington DC & Vicinity, 'Inside the Beltway.'"

here's a photo of it (doesn't really do it justice, tho).
posted by garfy3 at 2:14 PM on December 28, 2006 [1 favorite]

Best answer: @garfy3: What a great find! I did some searching through the Alexandria Drafting Co.'s web site, looking for that map, and I can't find anything under that stock number.

I think it might be the same as this one (ISBN 0-87530-698-5), just under a new name. Any chance this is the same thing? It's 58"x44" unfolded. If so, it's a steal at only $8.

For the slightly-higher-rollers, there also seems to be a laminated version (ISBN 0-87530-717-5), sold rolled in a tube for wall hanging, for $35.

I think that the map I saw in the Falls Church fire station may have been one of these (maybe cut down to just the Arlington section).
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:39 PM on December 28, 2006

DCRails will show you how close a given address is to the nearest Metro station exit. (Particularly useful downtown when there are multiple exits.)
posted by armage at 7:20 PM on December 28, 2006

I just realized that Google Earth will show you the DC metro (seemingly geographically accurate) overlaid on its map, plus roads/buildings/etc. as desired.

In G.E., go into the Layers section, and under Transportation, check the box for "Local Lines" with the railroad icon next to it. It shows all the metro lines, color coded, on top of the map.

It's pretty neat! As far as I can tell, the above-ground sections are fairly accurate (in that they match the satellite photos when you overlay them), but who knows about the underground portions.

FYI, there is another box you can check to display stations, which makes it a fairly useful route-planning tool, all within G.E.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:26 PM on January 18, 2007

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