The Moscow map redesign

After many experiments and trials to make Yandex.Maps design clear I can say the one of the significant steps of the big work is done.

We redesigned the map of Moscow at Yandex. The following targets has been set:

  • Ensure maximum “readability” of a map image;
  • Keep recognizable color palette of a map image (the colors of map design currently used, warm colors, are widely associated with Yandex.Maps brand);
  • Provide greater visibility and readability for various types of overlay layers;
  • Ensure that information, important for visual navigation, such as contours of widely know geographic places, or text labels, will be readable and usable according to common usage scenarios;
  • When printing black and white map images, a resulting print should not lose the details important for visual navigation;
  • A design of map image should employ a concept, based on two common scenarios from the web maps: a displaying of standalone map image and a displaying of map image as a background for some information (traffic jams, POI, special overlays).

We have done the important stage of the project.  We talked to designers, engineers and other smart guys during all time of the project. We achieved a lot of experience of mapping design. 
For example, at the the begining of the project we collaborated with Stamen. These cool guys helped us pick main issue definitions, refine ideas, get important recommendations what to improve. We implemented it into final design.

So, let take a look to the Before and After comparisons:

The number of various roads styles was reduced to three styles at the one zoom level (in most cases). The “rule of 3″ makes the roads design clear and better understanding. Also the difference between living and was removed at these zooms.


At this zoom level we improved the district names labeling and major railway stations has been received clear icons:


At this zoom we labeled the subway stations.


The color of the line of the subway station is important information for our users. It`s a part of the strong mental model of Moscow map. Colored transparent subway lines layer was added.


Next zoom the subway icons were continued the proper colors of lines.


The drivers will be surprised to use the one-way roads arrows.


And finally, we improved the junctions rendering:


Overall, we kept recognizable color palette of a map image, improved the legibility of the objects and made the map image clear.

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I collected over 100 pictograms from different London public places:
People of London

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Moscow map 1973

Map of the central part of Moscow. USSR, 1973.

Interesting fact:
The subway stations labeled with some numbers. The real names of stations are presented on the other side of the paper. I don’t know the reason to make it so complicated, may be it was been disallowed by Soviet laws.



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Saint-Petersburg views from air

We recently launched panoramic views of Saint Petersburg.

So, take a look at Yandex.Maps:
Saint Michael’s Castle
Church of the Savior on Blood
Peter and Paul Fortress
And there is a lot of beautiful viewpoints, discover them by clicking on the balls icons.

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Moscow metro map has been redesigned

Since last autumn Moscow metro started to change their maps at the stations. At the some stations you can see the new style of the transit map.

Old style map still placed in the trains, bat at the some stations map design was changed.

There is a new map style (sorry about quality of photos – there is not enough light at the stations):

A little bit closer:

The new map more clear than the previous map style, but not enough as I expect. There is an own style stations designation, but the main idea follows Tube-style maps.

There are few problems with the station names labeling. Station names in latin-characters not enough bright, the light-gray color of the labels not redeable where not enough lighting. And there is some mess with labels and lines, the station names labels shouldn`t be placed on top of the lines.

But, I have to agree the fact new map better than old. May be it will be better in future.

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Minsk: maps & signs

A month ago I have been in Minsk (Belarus).

If you dream about Time Machine to come to the Soviet times welcome to Minsk. There are lot of artifacts from USSR in the city. But there are also a lot of modern urban elements. Minsk authorities take care of it.

The star from Soviet times

Ok, let talk about subj.

The most famous touristic map you can buy – the map with normal and axonometry view. (I got the same kind of map from Kiev before).

The paper

And you can buy and use the country map:
The paper map of Belarus
The author of these maps is Ruben Atoyan.
I didn`t scanned the normal view map, there is nothing interesting.

There is a tourist information kiosk in the center of the city.
If you don`t know Russian/Belarusian language you will get lost. There is no latin characters for labels in most places. Like in this touristic map too.
Touristic map

The map on the bus stop:
Bus stop with the map

The touristic map inside the subway station:
The city map inside subway stations

Old style house number and street name sign:
House number (old style)

New style signs:
House signs (new style)

I think old style signs better than new one.

Subway stations entrances marked these outdoor signs:
Subway entrance sign

…in the night:
Entrance into subway

“Exit” sign inside the subway station:
"Exit" inside the subway

It looks funny, sign was designed at 80`s I think

Station name at the platform:
Station name at subway platform

Direction signs:
Directions signs at subway platform

Before entrance to the escalator I have seen this sign: “Caution! You may fall down!”
This is something from “wet floor” signs series.

The Minsk public transport system consists of subway (Minsk metro), buses and tramways.

There is a map of tramway routes inside the wagons. I love useful transit maps wich using color coding for the separate routes. It is a good way to make routes map clear. Unfortunately not all transit maps authors takes care about that. There is color coding helps to follow the route on the map, but colors might be more different.
Tramway`s network map

Special traffic light for tramway looks very nice:
Special tramway traffic light

In Minsk are very wide sidewalks on the major streets. It allows to combine bike traffic within pedestrian ways. But with part is intended for bikes suggests special markup.
The road marking for bikes

Post box
Post`s logo seems pretty good.

Finally, I want to say about Minsk: I liked it.

More photos from Minsk streets you can see in this set

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Venice map (paper, 1930′s, USSR)

My paper maps collection has replenished with the map of Venice. This map was designed in 1930`s in the USSR. like paper maps from Soviet times because they are designed pretty good.

The Venice map (1930's, USSR)

The Venice map (1930's, USSR)
View the more detailed image of this Map

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Istambul traffic visualization

Thousands GPS-signals received from a lot of the vehicles in one day November, 3 in Istanbul.
Yandex Maps visualized this data. Enjoy!

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Hand-drawn maps with isometry

I have been in Kiev (Ukraine) this september and I have used this paper map during my trip. On the one side there is a normal streets map (like a thousands touristic streets maps of the hundred cities). There is no interesting. On the other side printed this hand-drawn map with isometry.
Map of Kiev
Of cause, I have seen many similar map types before, but I have used the only this type of map on the place first time. I haven`t looked on the normal streets map. After using this map I can say: this is an excellent way to get right directions and to find destinations.

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Wayfinding systems of Paris


Three weeks ago I was in Paris. I have spotted some interesting signs, maps and fingerpoints of Paris. These urban signs help you to find the right way if you get lost.

You can see all photos in the Flickr set.
I have posted here the most interesting of them.

Continue reading

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