For as much time as a New Yorker spends on the subway, the labyrinth of underground tunnels can often feel disconnected from the landscape above. The point-to-point nature of the subterranean transportation system just doesn’t quite lend itself to the wide-ranging and colorful world of interlocking streets, landmarks, parks, and your favorite destination bagel shop.
Turns out, pairing the lines of the NYC subway with the city above is as easy as putting one on top of the other. Tumblr user Arnorrian overlayed the color-coordinated subway lines (including the PATH and NJ Transit Lines, the 7 line extension, the first phase of the Second Avenue subway and the East Side Access) with aerial photos to create an image that marries simple data visualization with the complexity of the real world. It’s both beautiful and illuminating—particularly since transit maps are often distorted for ease of use.
An additional version of the mashup contains greater swaths of New Jersey and Brooklyn.
For even more gorgeously-rendered subway data, visit Arnorrian’s blog.