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Traffic Automotive Design

New map design: best for traffic and transit

Our new map design is all about supplying the right information at the right time.

One of the best ways to show this is to examine the differences between the normal, everyday mode and the way the map changes when you switch to show transit or traffic.

Senior cartography designer Trixi Fey walks us through the points of interest.



Transit view – priority for pedestrians

One of the most popular distinguishing features of the new map design is the lovely, bright palette used for different elements. The particular shades of blue for waterways and green for parks stay consistent in each view.

“This was important. We didn’t want the maps to look completely different in different views. We want you to look at it and think ‘ah – there’s my HERE map’,” Trixi explains.

The use of colour is subtly different in other ways, though, depending on the view chosen.


Brooklyn - Normal view Brooklyn - Normal view



Brooklyn - transit view Brooklyn - transit view


“The changes are all about emphasis,” says Trixi. “If you switch on transit mode, then that’s a deliberate choice. We can assume you’re a pedestrian and that you’re looking for public transport.”

With transit mode on, bright colours are used to show the train, subway and other lines: where available, we use the transit companies’ official colours for the lines.

But to make the map intelligible, less relevant elements need to recede into the background. “If we showed everything, then you wouldn’t be able to see anything,” says Trixi.

The pink,salmon and yellow used to designate major and minor roads disappear – because if you’re a pedestrian, their status doesn’t matter so much. Instead, all roads are white and thickness alone is used to indicate their importance.

What appears in addition, though, are paths and pedestrianised roads that aren’t accessible to cars. Check out the way in which the appearance of this park changes between views.


park_detail2 In transit view (right), the park's paths are shown in full


Trixi points out that the dotted lines, which indicate pathways inaccessible to cars on the regular map, become regular white thoroughfares in transit mode. Because if you’re a pedestrian, that’s exactly what they are.


paths_detail On the transit map (right), paths and alleyways become navigable


Here are two more transit maps – Shanghai – because it looks so gorgeous, and England, showing train lines at a national level, quite an unusual view of the country.


Click through for full size Click through for full size



england_sm England's rail - click through for a larger view



Traffic view – motor city

Switching on the traffic view brings another change of emphasis, working to the same principles as transit view, but with a new set of priorities.


Brooklyn - Normal view Brooklyn - Normal view



brooklyn_traffic Brooklyn - traffic view


If you care about seeing levels of traffic congestion, then you’re a motorist (or you will be, if you’re looking at the map beforehand on here.com). So the train lines and other features of the transit map disappear.

The use of stronger colours shifts again. “We use four colours to show road traffic levels,” Trixi explains. “Green, yellow and red intuitively show light, medium and heavy traffic. A road with a black line on it is closed or blocked.”


Traffic incidents – such as road works – appear as coloured icons on the map, while other icons become black rather than coloured. They are probably less important to you if you’re driving somewhere in particular.

The right map for the moment

The new HERE maps design is all about relevance – showing you the information you need, not everything that exists. And the answer to that is to change the map to bring different layers of information in and out of focus, depending on what you’re doing.

Next time, we’ll look closer at the stunning new outdoor maps. So stay tuned.

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