On location in Milan – field research techniques

Many people ask why I have to travel to the cities in order to design a map?


It’s a question I often get asked, mostly by friends who think I’m on a jolly all the time!

The simple truth is that maps, and particularly transit maps, cannot be designed accurately, and with the end user in mind, if the ground research has not been undertaken beforehand. The quirks and unique problems and oddities of each of the systems can only be incorporated into a map design if the field research is conducted in the first place.

From the point of view of my customers, who want to License the maps without the fear of copyright law suits landing on their desks, I have to be able to prove that the maps are my original works of art.

In the earlier years, without the aid of digital cameras, I merely made handwritten notes. In later years with the advent of digital cameras, life was made a lot easier, particularly with a non-roman language such as one would find in Athens, Belgrade or Kiev, for example, where a simple snapshot of the station or stop name combined with a numbered note on the street map would suffice.

Here, in a presentation filmed on location in Milan and the office, I answer many of the questions on the subject and more.