Submitted by Harry, who says:
Hi Cam – I’m a big fan of your blog, been reading for years. I’ve always wanted to try designing a transit map, but hadn’t found a good system to start with (I live in NYC, which is both daunting and already done well)… until recently! I visited Sorrento in June, and had the chance to ride the Circumvesuviana from Naples to Sorrento and round-trip from Sorrento to Pompeii. Something about it captured my imagination, and since it only has 5 lines it seemed like a great first system to map. On top of that, I couldn’t find a single diagrammatic map of the entire Circumvesuviana anywhere online. There are maps that include the parts in Naples – you featured a great one in 2014 – but none of them extend to Sorrento or the other CV destinations. The official site has very low-res strip maps, Italian Wikipedia has an MS Paint sketch of the routes, and… that was it.
So here’s my take! I’d love to hear what you think, and what I can improve on. My initial idea was to base the design on intersecting circles – the blue line circling the Bay of Naples, the red/green and yellow lines in concentric rings around Vesuvius – but I couldn’t quite get the Linea 3 pink line to fit, and switched to straight lines at 45/90 degree angles. The primary goal was to map the CV lines, so I included other rail options but only within the CV map extent.
For the color scheme, there wasn’t much to go off of on the CV website. I wanted something specific to the region, so I picked colors from a photo I took of Roman frescos while I was there, and used those – it’s a little muted, but I think that’s okay since for the most part the lines are only competing with the regional rail, which I have in grey.
I debated a few different ways of showing Vesuvius, and kind of wanted to do a top down view – I ended up going with the profile, as that was the easiest to trace the shape of and have it look okay given my lack of freehand drawing experience in Illustrator.
Before I started on the diagram, I exported the routes from OpenStreetMap to Illustrator as a reference. It turned out they weren’t consistently tagged (and in a few cases tracks were missing), so that led down a rabbit hole of using Google Translate to read Italian Wikipedia and railfan sites (lestradeferrate.it was very helpful!) to correctly map out the routes and stations. Probably more research than I needed to do, but the track map was a helpful reference while creating the map!
Overall I had a lot of fun putting this together – and have a few ideas for expansions (including the metros in central and eastern Naples) or companion pieces (the SITA bus which runs from Sorrento down the Amalfi coast also does not appear to have a map).
Transit Maps says:
This is a great effort for a first attempt at a transit map, Harry, and a fun project to sink your teeth into. I rode the Circumvesuviana from Naples to the Roman ruins at Pompeii and Herculaneum way back in 2003, the day after a massive transit strike hit the region, so that was memorable!
Everything is nice and clear, and the spacing between stations is excellent throughout, though I’d probably like to see the ferry terminals have their own labels or be placed closer to their respective railway stations. While I can see that they’re ever so slightly outside the area covered by this map, leaving the destinations that can be reached by ferry from Naples itself seems unfortunate. On that transit strike day, I took a very worthwhile trip from Naples to Capri, but that’s not shown as an option on this map at all.
The two unlabelled grey stations on the blue Sorrento line are a little strange. If they’re closed with no chance of being reopened in the immediate future (like Pozzano will be), then it’s probably best just to omit them.
I think the silhouette of Vesuvius is fine: the shape is very distinctive and recognisable, and it more immediately says “big volcano” than a top-down view would.
One thing I’m interested in is your line numbering for the CV lines: you only give the short Napoli to San Giorgio branch a line number (Linea 3), and from what I can see online, that’s not actually correct. The website of the CV’s operator, EAV, gives these line designations:
- Linea 1 – Napoli to Sorrento
- Linea 4 – Napoli to Poggiomarino
- Linea 6 – Napoli to Sarno
- Linea 8 – Three branches: Napoli to Acerra; Napoli to Baiano; the branch to San Giorgio
Colours are a bit vague, but Google Maps assigns them thus:
- Linea 1 – black
- Linea 4 – green (as yours)
- Linea 6 – red (as yours)
- Linea 8 to Acerra and Baiano – yellow (as yours)
- Linea 8 to San Giorgio – purple (a little more muted than your pink)
Apart from that, there’s just a couple of minor typographical errors: “statzione” instead of “stazione”, for example.
Our final word: A really solid effort that could just be tightened up a bit more here and there. Consistency in naming the CV lines would be good. Three stars!