Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Map of the Week-Mexico City's Subway Station Icons

When Mexico City designed it's subway system in the 1960's there was widespread illiteracy (not so anymore.) They came up with a solution of visual signs such as colors and icons. Each station has a unique logo or icon based on local points of reference, history, nature, etc.

For example the Pino Suarez station icon depicts an Aztec pyramid that was discovered during the construction of the station.

Salto del Agua shows a local fountain and Merced shows a box of apples because it's located adjacent to one of the largest outdoor markets in the city. The stories behind most of these icons can be found by clicking the station name from this wikipedia page.

The image above is a detail from this image from Wikipedia.

I discovered these icons when I was working on my Maps on Album Covers project. One of my favorite "Rock en Espanol" bands Cafe Tacvba (not a typo) put a fake subway diagram with fake icons on their Cuatro Caminos album. The album is named for a real subway station, but the others on this map appear to be whimsical creations.

Here is the real area around Cuatro Caminos - the geodesic dome is a former bullfighting arena.

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