See How Metros in the World's Biggest Cities Intersect on Aerial Maps

Paris
Paris
Dadapp94, Reddit

In cities around the world, subways form massive networks that snake under the urban landscape, creating systems that we're familiar with seeing in the form of colored, intersecting lines on a poster, but basically can never see from above ground.

Luckily, the cartography and transit nerds of the internet have you covered. A number of users on Twitter, Tumblr, and forums like Reddit's r/MapPorn have created image mashups of subway lines overlaid with aerial images of urban environments, showing what cities would look like from above if their massive transit networks were above ground. CityLab recently collected some of the most compelling ones, and they're fascinating to examine. (The one above, of Paris, was created by Reddit user Dadapp94.)

Below are a few of our favorites:

Here's London:

And New York:

Here's one of Amsterdam that was posted to r/MapPorn by Reddit user Conducteur:

An aerial photo of Amsterdam with subway lines represented by colored lines
Amsterdam's railway and subway lines
Conducteur, Reddit

And one of Milan, posted by Reddit user medhelan:

An aerial view of Milan with colored lines representing subway paths
Milan
medhelan, Reddit

To see more aerial shots like this, head over to CityLab. And if you love aerial images of infrastructure as much as we do, we also recommend these photos of airports seen from above.

Themed Geography Grab Bag Quiz

The U.S.-Canada Border Runs Directly Through This Library

Though the Haskell Free Library and Opera House might not be as well known as the Grand Canyon or the Statue of Liberty, it's undoubtedly one of America's most unique tourist attractions. Completed in 1904, the building is stationed directly between Stanstead, Quebec, and Derby Line, Vermont, with the official U.S.-Canada borderline running right across the library's floor.

Martha Stewart Haskell and her son, Colonel Horace Stewart Haskell, both Canadians, built the building as a tribute to Mrs. Haskell’s late husband, Carlos. The family hoped that citizens from both countries would use it as a “center for learning and cultural enrichment,” according to the official Haskell Free Library website.

The Haskell is divided between the two countries. While the library’s official entrance is on the U.S. side of the building, most of the books are on the Canadian side. The opera house is similarly split, with most of its seats in the U.S. and its stage in Canada. As Atlas Obscura reported, it is often said that the Haskell is the only library in the U.S. with no books, and the only opera house in the country with no stage.

U.S. Border Patrol Agent Andrew Mayer speaks to Nancy Rumery as he stands on the Canadian side of a line on the floor of the Haskell Free Library and Opera House that marks the border between the U.S. March 22, 2006 in Derby Line, Vermon
Joe Raedle, Getty Images

Passports and other forms of identification aren’t required to cross from country to country in the library, though the Haskell’s website notes that the border inside the "building is real and it is enforced.” Visitors are expected to return to their side of the border after a visit; if they don’t, they risk possible detention and fines.

Even beyond the building's unique position, library director Nancy Rumery told CTV News that Haskell staffers—Canadian and American alike—consider the institution to be like any other library in the world.

"We're just trying to be the best library we can, and our community is made up of people from two different countries," she said. "We don't think of it in that big symbolic way that I think a lot of people do. These are all our neighbors and we do our very best to help them on their life-long learning journey."

This article originally ran in 2016.

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