One neat thing about Apple’s new maps

I don’t have any iThings, so I haven’t tried the new Apple Maps in iOS 6, which appear to have been met with almost uniform disappointment from those who have tried them. But while browsing this incredibly amusing blog dedicated to documenting errors in the new Apple Maps, I noticed one really neat feature: specific state route shields! Most maps (paper or online) use a generic oval shield for state routes, but Apple Maps appears to use the proper route shield, as seen here for Pennsylvania, New York, Louisiana, and Oregon.

This is a nice touch that Google should copy immediately.

Some state route shields, reviewed

I have lived in four states:

PA route 45

Of these four states, I believe Pennsylvania has the best route shield. Pennsylvania is the keystone state (if you don’t understand why, look at a map of the original 13 states), and so it’s fitting that the route shield looks like a keystone. Distinctive and legible—good qualities in a route shield.

MN 43 route shield

I like the Minnesota route shield. The colors are nice. I also like the small outline of the state in the corner. One issue is that it’s kind of hard to read the “Minnesota” from far away, but you don’t really need to, given that this shield is so distinctive.

ORE 212 route shield

The route shield of my home state of Oregon leaves something to be desired. It’s not very distinctive: it looks very much like all the other states that use a circular or vaguely oval-like pattern. When I was a child, I thought this route shield was some sort of deformed oval, like the default oval used for state highways on maps, until I realized it’s supposed to be the state seal. Except, with three-digit highways, they have to distort the seal to make it wide enough. I’m not saying Oregon should change its route shield—that would be a waste of money—but it’s really sad that such a beautiful state has such a drab route shield.

IL 59 route shield

Sorry, but I don’t like Illinios’s route shield. It’s extremely boring and undistinctive. Worse, it looks too much like a speed limit sign!

(Route shields by Wikipedia users TwinMetsFan, Master_son, Fredddie, and SPUI, respectively. The Oregon Route shield image is used under a CC-BY-SA license.)

61/14 or 14/61?

The major highway through this town is a concurrency of U.S. Route 14 and U.S. Route 61. Some of the signage looks like this:

U.S. 61 route shieldU.S. 14 route shield

And some of the signage looks like this:

U.S. 14 route shieldU.S. 61 route shield

I still haven’t figured out what determines the order of the route shields.

(Route shields by Wikipedia user SPUI: 14 source, 61 source.)