Understanding how the brain’s complex map of neural connections actually works is one of the greatest challenges faced by scientists today, but new research by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) provides greater insight into how our brainwaves function when resting, and it could have huge implications for our understanding the brain’s vast ’connectome’.
“It has been a mystery why these spontaneous patterns of brain activity occur when people are simply lying in a brain scanner not thinking about anything in particular and not doing any explicit task,” said one of the researchers, psychologist Joel Pearson.
Pearson and his team created three-dimensional maps of the structures of 10 patients’ brains using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) techniques. “The MRI gave us the structure of their cortex - the wrinkly surface of the brain - and the DTI gave us an anatomical map of the underlying connections of the white matter in the brain,” he says.
The third version of the new TfNSW style Sydney Trains map has just been published, due to the integration of the recently completed South West Rail Link into the T2 line. It is leagues better than the original map (September 2013), and just looking over it by eye it appears most of the technical errors are gone. The only label I can see obviously out of place is Cherrybrook, which is not terribly important anyway as the station is still under construction. In addition there have been some design changes, the most evident being that line names have been deleted from the terminus stations, leaving only the number. However, there are also other small alterations, such as the addition of “beige-space” where the lines cross, and the reworking of the T3, T6, and T7 around Lidcombe, which has eliminated the last crossing of station labels over route lines on the map.
Transit Maps says:
This is much, much better – a far more considered and polished map than the original version I reviewed (and redrew as an instructional exercise) back in 2013. It almost makes me feel that the first version was rushed out to meet a deadline before it was quite ready, and incremental changes have been made to it since to gradually clean it up.
Almost all the changes made improve the map, especially the removal of the completely redundant route names from all the terminus stations. This is something I advocated for on my reworked map, although the placement of the T-numbers on this new map is often different to where I chose to place them.
I also like the new placement of Lidcombe, which cleans up the area around Olympic Park quite nicely, even allowing the Carlingford Line to have a little more space so it doesn’t have to run directly alongside the main line as it heads north-east. The weird little spur line for Homebush has also thankfully disappeared – it was never a very convincing way to show service to that station, so I certainly won’t miss it at all.
I’m definitely in favour of the new doubling-up of the T2 line from Glenfield to Campbelltown, so long as it accurately reflects the new service patterns there. The map clearly seems to indicate that trains from the City via East Hills will always continue on to Campbelltown and Macarthur and never head out to Leppington along the South West Rail Link. Leppington will apparently instead be served by trains coming via Granville. Can any Sydney-siders confirm that this is the case?
Other good things: more harmonious spacing of stations overall (although there’s still some big gaps here and there), some improved label placement (Sydenham looks much better in its new position), the addition of an appropriately-sized grid for the station index on the second page of the PDF to cross-reference, and the “beige space” (as Thomas so rightly calls it) between route lines that cross but don’t interact with each other.
The map’s not entirely perfect, however. I’m still not convinced by the T3′s snake-like path from Marrickville to Sefton – I really do think that a straighter path like the one I created on my reworking would be preferable on a stylised diagram like this.
The placement of the T1 symbol above the station at Epping is perhaps problematic, as it sits right on top of the planned Sydney Metro North West line. It’ll probably be fixed when the line opens and the map has to change again, but I always prefer these things to be planned for right from the start, rather than rejigging things with each revision.
I’d still like to see some curves in the route lines to properly indicate direction of travel where the T1 joins onto the North Shore Line between Roseville and Chatswood, and where the Airport branch of the T2 rejoins the main line between Wolli Creek and Turrella. It’s a subtle visual thing, but it can help reader flow a lot.
Speaking of the Airport Line, the station access fee labelling is terrible. Couldn’t we have an icon for it explained in the legend like the old CityRail maps used to have?
Our rating: Incremental changes have improved this map greatly. Looks far more polished, and is much improved from a technical standpoint as well. It’s not perfect, but it’s the closest thing Sydney has had to an iconic map that it can truly call its own for quite some time now. Three-and-a-half stars.