Geographically Accurate Tube Map

29 06 2011

In the news this week – an interesting new geographically accurate tube map. The standard map and the new map are inspired by the work of Harry Beck who’s simplified geometric map revolutionised underground maps. Londonist have an astoundingly varied and comprehensive guide to alternative tube maps with some really interesting images from maps of the underground drawn by memory to a live train movements map. Here’s what the designers of the new geographic map have to say about the concept, which I have to say looks pretty good, if slightly less easy to read than the familiar standard map.

A new angle on the London Underground – Creating a tube map for the 21st century

We welcome your views and ideas about this map and your experiences of using the London Underground system. You can contribute via our website which has links to the blog, twitter and facebook. Our aim is to create a dynamic map that responds to the needs of the user, makes best use of technology, and reflects the way we live our lives in the 21st Century.

For more information please contact: Map designed by Mark Noad (

The original London Underground diagram, designed by Harry Beck is one of the greatest designs of the twentieth century. He rationalised and clarified a complex system to produce a simple, easy to follow piece of information graphics. The principles he established for the diagram are still in use today.

However, in 1931 when it was first used, there were only seven lines so the compromises Beck made on geographical accuracy did not matter greatly. Today, with the constant development of the diagram now accommodating twice as many lines, these inaccuracies are more of a problem. Indeed, they form the basis for a major criticism of the diagram, that it bears little or no relation to London at street level.

This is particularly the case with newer lines especially London Overground which has been shoe-horned in leaving stations nowhere near their neighbours, for example: Watford and Watford Junction; Archway and Upper Holloway; Seven Sisters and South Tottenham; South Acton and Chiswick Park.

The map illustrated here is an attempt to see if it is possible to create a geographically-accurate representation of the underground system while still retaining some of the clarity of Beck’s original diagram. It uses similar principles, fixed line angles – in this case 30 and 60 degrees instead of 45 – and shortens the extremities of the lines to make it more compact.

Making the position of the stations the most important element of the design means there is less space for the station names. To allow for this, a new condensed typeface has been created – New Underground Condensed – which is based on Edward Johnston’s original font.

This map will help visitors to London navigate the city more efficiently. It will make it easier to decide which route to take including whether it is quicker to walk between stations. As the project develops, we will add more information to help users of the underground system which will be accessible on-line, in print, and via the app.




London Walks

17 06 2011

New on the Guardian website and very beautifully created are a series of Badaude’s Illustrated London Walks.

The Guardian and Tate are also flogging a book of the series.

Badaude has a great blog with some wonderful observations and drawings of London, Paris and issues in between.



London Profiler, Photographing the East End and Migration shorts

17 02 2010

London Profiler is a fascinating interactive map website allowing the use of a range of data plotted onto maps or satelite photos of London. You can visualise your neighbourhood’s profile using different area classifications through the Google Map interface. All the themes have been created with GMap Creator. If you have any trouble in viewing and using the website as well as comments contact Maurizio:

My East End is a new photography initiative taking place in 2010. The project gives people the opportunity to document and celebrate the rich heritage of London’s East End: its people, cultures, domestic and built environments, and open spaces. It aims to create a collective vision of life in the East End in 2010.

Photographs entered into the competition will be added to the important archive collections about the East End already held by Bishopsgate Institute. You can see examples of the kinds of archive photographs Bishopsgate Institute has here. You can take part in two main ways: enter the photography competition, or attend an event or exhibition.

Migration Information Source has a country profile of the UK with a lot of good data on migration and multiculturalism.

The Leibniz Universitat Hamburg Summer Academy’s theme this year is “Metropolitan Minorities in Europe, Urban Marginal Groups in Eastern and Western Europe in Comparison”. There’s a full call for papers here (You have to be bilingual English/German for that one I think)