Thursday, July 23, 2020

World Rail Maps

The image above shows the rail networks of Europe, North America, South East Asia and Australia. It was created by the Open Train Project, which is working on creating a map of passenger railway networks across the world.

The maps reveal the huge public rail networks in Europe and India. The Australia map provides an interesting insight into the country's coastal population centers and the huge empty interior. The North America map also provides an interesting picture of sparsely populated areas, with few railway lines venturing into northern Canada and only a few lines crossing the U.S. interior (and those that do almost exclusively traveling east-west / west-east and not north-south / south-north.

You can create similar area rail network maps using OpenRailwayMap. OpenRailwayMap uses OpenStreetMap date to map the world's railways. Judging by a quick look at the two maps it appears that OpenRailwayMap currently has a lot of the world's railway networks mapped than the Open Train Project (for example the interior of the USA is has far more rail lines on this map).

I created the nine mini railway maps above using OpenRailwayMap data. Using OpenRailwayMap you can view rail infrastructure around the world for railways, subways, trams, miniature railways and funiculars. To create the image above I used the OpenRailwayMap API. The OpenRailWayMap API allows you to simply load the OpenRailWay map tiles into a number of different interactive mapping platforms.

I added the OpenRailWay map tiles to a Leaflet map. If you load the map tiles into Leaflet without adding any other map tiles you get a map of just the world's railway lines, without any other map data (for example place labels, country borders etc), which is perfect for creating otherwise blank railway network maps. If you don't want to create your own map then you can also just turn off the underlying map on OpenRailwayMap, which will leave you with an otherwise blank map of the world's rail networks.

Now - can you name the nine countries in the image above which shows just the rail networks in these nine different countries?

Answers (select text below to reveal)

Great Britain, North America (Canada, USA and Mexico), Italy

India, Spain & Portugal, Japan

Australia, France, Denmark & Norway and Sweden.

1 comment:

OpenTrainProject said...

As a member of the OpenTrainProject lets clarify - OpenTrainProject aims to map passenger train network - entire railway network (passenger + cargo) is mapped on OpenRailMap. So for example lack of most lines is USA is intended - because there is no passanger trains there.