A lot of aviation charts are visually complex, presenting a real readability problem. But one kind of chart has fantastic graphic design: the Airport Diagram. Clean and spare, fine black and white, very easy to read. You really need to view the PDF to get the full effect, they're intended to be printed 5"x8".
This diagram is what a pilot pulls out when preparing to land at an unfamiliar airport. The key information is easy to read. Runways in black, including their orientation and size. Taxiways in grey with letters identifying them. And a schematic view of landmarks on the field, including the control tower, the terminal building, hangars, parking, etc. Compare with an overhead view to see the simplification. The diagrams also include useful extra data: radio frequencies, magnetic variance, and any local rules like runway holding readbacks.

Aren't they beautiful? Such spare lines, just one shade of grey, and a clean all caps font that is clear and authoritative. These diagrams are provided at no cost by NACO, part of the FAA. They also produce the beautiful instrument approach diagrams which are a similarly elegant example of lots of data packed legibly in a small piece of paper.

  2010-01-13 23:32 Z