If you follow me on Instagram  you may have seen a picture I posted recently.

Warriors map

To most people it would have looked like a random arrangement of squiggles, lines and terrible sketches.

In fact it was a draft sketch of the plot of  The Warriors, a film that came out in 1979 (trailer)

The plot is set in a slightly-futuristic New York, where gangs in theatrical-costume uniforms roam the streets defending their turf. After being called to an all-gang powwow in the Bronx, the Warriors, from Coney Island have to make their way home with all the other gangs after their blood.

vignelli-map-1972What follows is their route south, to Coney, via the subway network and the highly controversial* 1972 Massimo Vignelli map (right) features heavily. (*the map was controversial as it followed the London underground style of being geographically inaccurate but focussed on connections within the system).

So boiling this down – the film is not only set over a series of locations (as with most films) but the specific locations are crucial, have different gangs attached to each area, and the movement between these areas is central to the plot.


I’ve always admired highly detailed “infographics”, or information design – where extensive time has gone into turning something conceptual into a visual finished piece and I felt the location-centric Warriors plot would work well overlaid on the New York subway map.

However, it would not be enough to simply plot their route across the city, but i wanted to show the key clashes with the other gangs and key plot points.

I have since added another series of elements – key lines from the script at the relevant locations, and the route of the individual Warrior members, if they peel off from the rest of the gang, or are killed.


I was also inspired to use the same effect adopted in the Minard Napoleon campaign data visualisation – where the width of the line denoted the number of men in the army.

This diagram (left) shows the outgoing army via the brown line, as they march to Russia, with the returning army shows in black. The depleted numbers are clear. The diagram also shows how some peeled off from the rest of the group.

This is a great visualisation and very effective and I want to adopt a similar idea for my map – although in this case we have 9 “soldiers” depleted down to 6 (plus an addition).

This is still a work in progress, but here are a couple of screen-grabs of the work so far: