These include technical reports, informal articles, and other documents which have something useful to say, or provide a summary of arguments given in more detail elsewhere. If any of these are superseded they will be removed from this listing, but will continue to be hosted on this website, and so they are safe to link to.
Roberts, M.J. (2013). The story of circles maps.
Informal web article. In 2013, maps based upon concentric circles and spokes generated much excitement on the internet, and new designs continue to be released. This article gives a brief history of landmark maps in which circles were a major design feature.
Roberts, M.J. (2011). How to create a topographically reasonable Underground Map.
Unpublished pamphlet. Step-by-step instructions for creating
a variable-scale schematic map that is compact but accurately preserves relative station placement. Try it for your own city!
Roberts, M.J. (2010). Future directions for the Washington, DC Metro map.
Unpublished report. For a while, it looked as though Washington, DC, was considering an open competition in order to redesign its Metro map. I prepared an unsolicited discussion document for them, and never heard back. Maybe they should have paid more attention to it, the current official map continues to be famous and iconic for all the wrong reasons! The overall methodology I proposed would be useful for any city considering an overhaul of its design.
Roberts, M.J. (2009). Henry Beck rules, not OK? Breaking the rules of diagrammatic map design.
Unpublished manuscript. This paper was originally written as an invited submission to the now-defunct journal, Aesthesis. It is obsolete, superseded by my book Underground Maps Unravelled, and so please do not cite this without contacting me first. It is still available because it is a useful short introduction to the challenges that face schematic map designers: Are Henry Beck’s design rules really the best for all possible transport maps?
Roberts, M.J. (2008). Information pollution on the Underground Map.
Informal web article. An analysis of an official London Underground map from the late 2000s, when standards of design were dismal, and users were being bombarded with a high quantity of low quality information. Designs have improved since then, but this article is a warning of what can go wrong when attention to detail lapses.
Roberts, M.J. (2008). The challenges of implementing Henry Beck’s unpublished prototypes.
Informal web article. Discusses the difficulties in taking Beck’s unimplemented drawings of the Paris Metro and the London railway network, and attempting to convert these into as-might-have-been-published maps.
Roberts, M.J. (2008). London Underground Map myths.
Informal web article. A number of commentators on Henry Beck and the London Underground map have not done their research properly, recycling various myths and legends. Even people who should know better such as academics and museum curators make the same old mistakes. By 2008 I had discussed twelve of these. You might not agree with my analysis, but at least think before you repeat one of these.