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Railway Maps of the World Paperback – October 30, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mark Ovenden is a British writer and broadcaster. At the age of seven, he traveled alone ten miles on the London Underground, armed only with a map. He later gained entry to a graphic design course by submitting a reworking of the London tube map. After working in journalism and media, life came full circle on the publication of his first book, Transit Maps of the World. He lives in Paris, France, and London, England.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (October 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143122401
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143122401
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 0.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #384,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mark was born and brought up in London, England and as a kid he was always interested in the media and in trains. He built miniature TV studios out of Lego & sticky backed plastic. He set up a closed circuit radio station which got piped through to other parts of the family home. He collected old maps of trains and often went out exploring closed-down rail lines. Aged 14-16 Mark presented a weekly show on the local hospital radio station, collected records and attempted to DJ at local events. A genuine 'geek' in the making!

Following early interests, Mark's school project was on the London Underground in which he painted a revision of the classic Beck inspired Tube diagram. Marks version kept the diagrammatic style but retained the geographic position of the lines: the resulting mess convinced him why Beck was right to expand the central area but helped gain Mark a place at Art College in Southampton. It was there he conceived of an idea to start a 'what's on' listings magazine for the area. 'Due South' published from November 1982 but Mark stepped down after just a couple of years as Editor to persue more pressing political interests. He become an activist during the 1984/5 Miners Strike. This spurred his journalistic interests and he began working for a local radio station as a trainee reporter. After a few years he was reading the news not making it.

Given his ongoing interest in gay politics and a desire to move to a livelier city, he took a job with the progressive Manchester City Council as an Equality Officer in 1990, delivering training on tackling homophobia in the workplace. Meanwhile Mark developed ideas with a colleague for a national radio show and scored a huge coup by getting BBC Radio 1 to commission their first ever series aimed at young lesbians and gay men: 'loud'n'proud' in 1993. Mark became freelance journalist and newsreader for Manchester's Kiss102 from 1994.

He took four months out in London to work on BBC2's first series for lesbians and gays, 'Gaytime TV' and back at Kiss102, Mark fronted the daily entertainment show 'The Word' , became newsreader 'Peter Parker' for London's Kiss100 breakfast show and was promoted to Programme Manager until 1997 when he became full time producer at BBC Radio 1 on the Annie Nightingale show. In mid 1998 he joined MTV as a freelance Music Programmer then became a producer and presenter at Atlantic252.

In early 2000, Mark moved to Ministry Of Sound, helping set up their DAB Digital Radio station, and as Head of Radio at MoS, Mark applied for and won the licence to run a one month long FM version of the station.

Mark moved into consultancy after this and in 2002 he joined a fledgling TV channel as Channel Manager but by this stage had already become wrapped up in the idea of compiling a book that contained the official map of every urban transit system in the world. "Metro Maps of The World" was published in November 2003 and sold out its first run in a matter of weeks. In September 2005 Mark moved to France to focus on his next book about the Paris Metro. Meantime his original publication was picked up by a Dutch Publisher ('Metrokaarten van der wereld" 2006) and also by Penguin in the USA. The American version, "Transit Maps of The World" was published October 2007. Media coverage was phenomenal and led to unexpectedly high sales, and a Top 100 ranking in the Amazon Sales Charts where it is still often the number one best-selling book in it's category (Mass Transit)! Mark is hugely proud that his work has become the best-selling book about transport design.

The book on the design of the French capital's transit system was published in October 2008 as "Paris Metro Style in map and station design". Penguin US commissioned an American version of it so Mark re-worked the concept, updated the content and it was published on October 24 2009 by Penguin as "Paris Underground, The Maps, Stations, and Design of the Metro".

Mark's next book, a follow-up to the popular transit maps offering, is called 'Railway Maps of the World' and was published by Viking Adult in May 2011. He's also working on three other follow-up books in the design field.

He lives in Paris with two fat cats where he also writes comedy and is a freelance journalist.

Customer Reviews

I would have rather seen less maps that were readable.
Yamalotz
An additional problem is the color reproduction - are the original sources poorly rendered or is much of the book printed out of register?
Luigi Facotti
The fonts were either too small or the reproductions were not great.
Brian Maitland

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Chris Paris on May 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have already purchased Mr. Ovenden's two previous titles, as I really love maps. I thought what he did in the "Transit Maps of the World" was brilliant, and I really like what he has done in "Railway Maps of the World". The book is again split into the development/ historical part and a gazetteer of all the places in the world that have railway networks. Just looking at the cover, with an image from the mythical Orient-Express, made me want more. It is fascinating to see how we have chosen to illustrate railways, ranging from the very traditional cartographic maps, to beautiful, almost three dimensional images. It is the kind of book that makes you yearn to set off on a train journey to see places near and far. It makes me regret the almost clinical nature of a flight, compared with a train journey. Looking at how extensive the railways were once in the USA, or Argentina or Ireland, for example, makes you realise how much potential we have lost. The map's of LA railways is a very telling one. Then to compare it with the ways the maps of China are filling out with railways, makes you really think about choices being made.
I really like the contrasting styles of maps, for example the juxtaposition of the images of a French board game from the 1920s depicting the railway lines of France and western Europe next to the ultra modern rail team map of the same area. The beautiful holiday posters that mixed maps and advertising are so evocative of another age that you can only get nostalgic.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Luigi Facotti VINE VOICE on December 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mark Ovenden has created his own niche in the world of publishing at the intersection of cartography and railways. His books to date have been encyclopedic in scope and content - easy to get lost in and in which to find arcane information. There are many very expensive books on railways in French that fail to reach the level of consistent interest and comprehensiveness of Mr. Ovenden's efforts
This book is the latest in the series and will probably be the last as it has been rapidly remainder and has become a perfect symbol of more is less. This book could be an ideal example of what not to do in the communication field - maybe a volume to accompany the excellent work of Edward Tufts?
The scope of this book and its organization are outstanding - the problem is that the reproduction is poor in both design and execution. The majority of the maps are so small as to be unreadable - depriving the reader of the vicarious pleasure of reading the maps in detail and letting their imagination run wild. Some are little bigger than postage stamps and as such useless. An additional problem is the color reproduction - are the original sources poorly rendered or is much of the book printed out of register? Difficult to decide but one does come away with the image of the book as being predominately a muddy brown.
As I bought the book as a remainder - it's okay - for $35 I would have a major issue.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Christophe Vidal on October 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book not having a clear idea of what to expect, as I don't own any of Mark Ovenden's previous works.

First of all the format is perfect, slightly rectangular, large enough to feel plush yet not oversized.
The overall design is beautiful and crisp, contemporary yet with an attractive and appropriate touch of old-fashion style, which is reflected in the mat cover.

I found the contents of the book very interesting. There's a lot more information than one would expect. It's fascinating to follow the development of railways throughout the continents and time, while observing the changes in design of the maps.
Mark Ovenden manages to combine in a brilliant way the historical part and the graphic part in an uncommonly attractive and romantic approach.

The size of some of the maps would have deserve a larger size, as they sometimes feel crammed in one page. In spite of that I love this book. Whether you just browse through it and stop on a random page, or you read it from beginning to end, it's a relaxing and enchanting book.

I can only strongly recommend this addition to one's library.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Brian Maitland on November 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Whereas the author's Transit Maps of the World is fantastic, this was a huge letdown. I found all the maps in general to be way to hard to read. The fonts were either too small or the reproductions were not great.

I also found the organization of the book odd given the excellent way Mark Ovenden laid out the Transit book from large systems down to smaller ones so a good chunk of the main transit systems of the world forms the core of the book. The railway book does none of that. It is more a historical slant than a up-to-date look at railways around the world through maps.
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