mySociety has produced a set of beautiful color-coded maps of travel-times (red for near, blue for far) by public transit from a given location. They have produced a few maps with fixed starting locations (all in the UK) at various scales.

Greater London travel times

This is a interesting concept; it will be useful for me when I can type in my home address (or whatever address I want) and produce a map for it. That will take further work since the above London map took 10 hours of computer time to generate. It is already useful to UK’s Department of Transport (who funded the work).

Their own suggestions for improving the presentation are

  1. improving the color table and
  2. finding simpler base maps that locate a position without unneeded detail.

For choosing the color table, “How NOT to Lie with Visualization” has been invaluable to me. As far as choosing simpler base images, beware. As Tufte says in Envisioning Information (page 37): to clarify, add detail. The “Layering and Separation” chapter in that same book might provide better techniques for solving the problem of cluttering.

Link via BoingBoing.