Augmented Reality in Wayfinding | 擴增現實尋路記
My attempt of a concentric Hong Kong rail map.
My Love Story with Rails
Railway map has always been a fascinating subject to me. In my 5th and 6th grades, my pal and I worked on planning imaginary cities on a lot of graph papers (remember those?) for fun. We even put resources, pollutants and defence into considerations, and of course transit. I had a vertical transit system that would work somewhat like revolving sushi bar.
I had quite a few backpack traveling years after attending university. Maneuvering rail systems had always been an anticipated part of my journeys. After experiencing around 40 rail transit systems in 3 continents, I have become quite opinionated about rail maps, while have gained quite a bit of insights on how the unique features of each system would affect the design approaches.
Buses and streetcars do have their own appeals (big fan of the F line in San Francisco!). Railways are just more dependable for visitors as there are more points of reference to where they’re at and how to get to the destination.
從小我就對鐵路路綫圖著迷。小學五、六年級時，我與玩伴以在方格紙 (graph paper) 繪製幻想城市為樂。資源、污染源與防衛也是我們考慮之內；交通運輸也就更加是我們紙筆版 SimCity 遊戲的重心了。我甚至創作了像迴轉壽司輸送帶的垂直集體運輸系統。
大學畢業以後，我也有幾次當背包客平遊列國。各地的鐵路捷運系統總讓我期待。遊歷過三大洲 40 個捷運系統，體會到不同現實情況如何影響設計，漸漸建立了對鐵路路綫圖的一點見解。
巴士 (公車) 與電車也有各自的魅力 (尤其鍾愛集合多個歐美城市電車款式的三藩市 F Line)。只是作為旅客，鐵路更為可靠易用。
Why Hong Kong Railway Map?
First of all, I was born and raised in Hong Kong until adulthood. I’ve been working on my versions of Hong Kong railway maps in 2005. It was an interesting challenging to me at that point, as the two systems in Hong Kong, MTR and KCR, were to merge, and there were quite a lot of proposed extensions.
In many ways, the Hong Kong case poses some particular challenges:
- CJK + Latin bilingual contents.
- Water bodies that pedestrians may not cross.
- Lines crisscrossing in small downtown areas, with a lot of stations within close proximity.
Earlier Versions in 2005 | 2005 年製作的幾個版本
Version 1 (July 2005)
- Largely followed the then-MTR official version.
- Lines easier to follow with added padding between parallel lines.
- Application of route numbers, loosely adopted from Singapore’s MRT.
第一版 (2005 年 7 月)
- 參考新加坡 MRT 為路綫編號。
Version 2 (July 2005)
- Some reference to the Paris Metro-RER map.
- Scale adjustments.
- Dumped route numbers.
- Background colors tuned down.
- Reduced twists and turns.
- Realigned the lines between Nam Cheong, Mei Foo and Lai King.
第二版 (2005 年 7 月)
- 參考當年巴黎 Metro-RER 鐵路圖。
Version 3 (July 2005)
- Reduced twists and turns.
- Rounded turns.
- Single line stations are colored by respective lines.
- Less emphasis in geographic accuracy.
- Not featuring Light Rail system.
第三版 (2005 年 7 月)
Version 4 (November 2005)
- Slightly geared towards geographic accuracy.
- Adjusted to a higher-contrast color scheme.
- Stations labeled in blue to accentuate the lines.
第四版 (2005 年 11 月)
Version 5 (December 2005)
- Another step towards geographic accuracy.
- Wider map area, as more horizontal space is required for labeling.
第五版 (2005 年 12 月)
The Concentric Circles Approach
After seeing a couple of concentric attempts, I recently revisited this project. Max Roberts has been exploring circles maps in recent years. I would say the New York one is particularly interesting as a problem solving attempt, perhaps because I’m not that fond of the official one.
For Hong Kong, Sameboat released his Hong Kong Railway Route Map ring on Wikipedia in May 2016. I do find his approach pretty fresh and clean. This can be an easy reference to identify the routes and connections from station A to station B. While the geographic relevance in terms of orientation, proximity and natural barriers (water bodies) are mostly compromised, posing frictions for real-life applications.
A Facebook interest group HKRDG (Hong Kong Railway Development Group) released MTR System Map in June 2016, as a derivative of Sameboat’s map. Since the release in Facebook and featurings by local media, many have commented on the shifted orientations, especially for the focal center being Whampoa station, which very few would agree as an urban center. Essentially the downtown area is pushed leftward, largely because of the seemingly arbitrary choice to have most of the green line forming the northern part of the ring.
The current official System Map released by MTR mostly designed on a 90º grid, with a few lines on 45º grid. The emphases appear to be on equal pitch between stations, straight lines, and clear distinctions between lines, hence the arc between Nam Cheong and Lai King couldn’t be larger.
The red and green lines are the dominating factors on how the space is defined. Kowloon peninsular is stretched horizontally, while all suburb extensions are being squeezed.
The legend is placed on top of water, while most lines appear on land, very challenging for users to match the colors. The sharp twist between Tsing Yi and Sunny Bay appears to be lacking in elegance and continuation to me.
- To allow a more geographic relevant presentation, accept the fact that there isn’t quite a circle line in Hong Kong .
- Stress on the actual city center: Nathan Road (Prince Edward to Tsim Sha Tsui) being the axis in the middle, and the smallest circle marking the CBD (Central to Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hung Hom, etc.).
- Recognizable shorelines. Quite a pleasant surprise to discover during earlier draft that Kowloon can be protrayed as a cone, Hong Kong Island and the New Territories being the arcs around it. It appears to be relatable to the real world while keeping it clean and simple with the addition of a few features such as the old airport runway (where the Kai Tak monorail will be built along), and Shing Mun River in northeast.
- Defining this as an exercise to balance between the simplicity of the concentric approach, and real life relevance. I’ve largely followed the color and typography by MTR.
- 設計佈局應以實際的市中心為重心：以彌敦道 (太子至尖沙咀) 為中輻，最小的環狀 (中環至銅鑼灣、尖沙咀、紅磡等) 為實際核心區。
- Currently operating lines and stations.
- In construction and proposed lines (outlined) and stations (name greyed out), limited to the ones included in recent agenda (e.g. the cross harbor connection from Whampoa to Tin Hau or Fortress Hill is not included, since it was not mentioned since 2000).
- Kai Tai Monorail 啟德單軌鐵路 (as commonly referred to) is officially Environmentally Friend Linkage System 環保連接系統, which would be unlikely as the marketing name. The former is adopted here.
- Routes of China Railway High-speed and Intercity Through Train are not shown as there are no intermediate stops within the territory of Hong Kong, their routes would not affect wayfinding. Only icons representing the location of their termini in Hong Kong are displayed.
- For Shenzhen Metro Network, only the stations adjacent to the cross border facilities are displayed.
Note: all versions below are updated with recently updated line and station names.
- 興建中與已倡議路綫及車站，以近年議程中提及為限。(如黃埔至炮台山過海綫從 2000 年起未有提及，所以不再標示)
Concentric Version 1 (July 2016)
- General routes of supplementary services (Light Rail, Ngong Ping 360, and Kai Tak Monorail) are included.
- Future lines are shown as hollow; names of future stations are grayed out.
同心圓第一版 (2016 年 7 月)
- 包括輔助路綫 (輕鐵、昂坪 360 與啓德單軌鐵路) 的大致走綫。
Concentric Version 2 (December 2016)
- Larger text for lower physical size requirement.
- Legend is eliminated, line labels are applied close to the respective routes.
- Future stations are marked with gray solid dots.
同心圓第二版 (2016 年 12 月)
Concentric Version 3 (March 2018)
- In place of line names, lines are numbered by destination, which can be used as platform numbers.
同心圓第三版 (2018 年 3月)
Thanks for reading. You may also want to read about my version of the Dallas DART map.
謝謝閱讀。我也發表了我的達拉斯 DART 路線圖 (只提供英文版)。
All map works are licensed under the Creative Commons — Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike.