Posts Tagged ‘underground’

The London Underground Strike Map

If you’re trying to get out and about in London today you’ve probably noticed that the Tube is on strike. Again. You could read the list of closed stations that are on Transport for London’s website and try and work out quite how, if at all, you’re going to get to where you want to be. Or you could look at a map.

This map. Now why didn’t TfL think of doing this?


Strike map by Ian Visits on Flickr.
Written and posted from home (51.427051, -0.333344)

A More Accurate And Realistic Map Of The Northern Line

Running between Edgware, Mill Hill East and High Barnet to the North of London to Morden to the South, the London Underground’s Northern Line stretches for 36 miles and takes in 50 stations. The line, marked in black on the Tube map, is a familiar sight to London commuters. But is the map of the line accurate? Does it reflect reality?


A geographic map of the line looks something like this. The Northern spurs of the line merge at Camden Town and then split into two branches, one via Charing Cross and the other via Bank, before merging again at Kennington and heading towards the Southern terminus at Morden.


But anyone who’s travelled on the Northern Line will probably also be familiar with the line being colloquially referred to as The Misery Line. The line is old with the first stations opening in 1867; signal failures and delays are constant companions, despite TfL’s program of upgrades and modernisation. Splitting the line into two sections, with Charing Cross trains terminating at Kennington and Bank trans running through to Morden doesn’t seem to help much. Maybe it’s time for a new map of the Northern Line that reflects the reality of commuting on this line? Maybe that map might look something like this?


Northern Line route map by Martin Deutsch. Northern Line map by Wikipedia. Realistic Northern Line map via Buzzfeed.
Written and posted from the Hyatt Regency Hotel, New Delhi, India (28.56897, 77.18515)

Doctor Who And The Underground Map; Enough Is Enough

Oh look. It’s another reworking of Harry Beck’s London Underground map. Ken Field probably won’t like it. This one is Doctor Who related. All the usual suspects are present. Each line representing one of the Doctors? Yes. Stations representing monsters and adversaries? Yes. Vague notions of interchanges between the lines? Oh yes.

Now I’ll freely admit I’ve been more than guilty of writing about re-workings of this particular map, at least 12 times. Doctor Who has been on, then off, then back on our TV screens for 50 years; longer than I’ve been around, but only by 2 years.


But I’ll also freely admit that Ken has a valid point. The tube map rework has been done to death. This is not to denigrate the amount of work that’s been put into such a map. Far from it. This is an obvious labour of love and many hours have been put in to make the map not only what it shows but how it shows it.

But it’s time to move on. Time to choose another way of representing interesting data. Time to move away from yet another map based around either the Underground map or some other, mass transit, map.

Though I often break them, my New Year’s Resolution for 2014 will be no more posts on variations of the London Underground map.

Doctor Who Tube Map by Crispian Jago
Written and posted from Workshop Coffee, Clerkenwell, London (51.52244, -0.10245)

The Tube Map To End All Tube Maps That’s Made Of Tube Maps

Despite Transport for London owning the copyright (and enforcing it) on Harry Beck’s iconic map of the London Underground network, people just won’t stop creating variants of the map. I may have written about these once, twice, three or even more times. But now, there’s a reworking of the Tube map to possibly end all Tube maps reworks.

At first sight, surely it’s yet another Tube map rework? Quirky and amusing line names in the right colours? Check. Station names that aren’t the current station names? Check. Faithfully reproducing the line layout? Check.

But then you dig deeper and discover that this isn’t just another Tube map rework, it’s a Tube map of Tube map reworks. Each station is assigned one of the other Tube map reworks that today’s Interwebs seem to be full of. Each line tries to categorise the Tube map reworks into some, albeit subjective, categorisation.


Thus Maxwell Robert’s curvy Tube map rework sits on a station in Edgware’s place called Curvy and on a line called Reworked, while the early pre-Beck era map sits where Ealing Broadway should be and at the interchange of the Metaphor and Official lines.


This is verging dangerously close to genius in my book and Esri’s Ken Field deserves some form of award for taking the time and effort to put this together. My one minor and extremely subjective niggle is that the explanatory text in the sidebar says click the stations to go to further details. My first exploratory foray into this map, clicking on the station names, yielded multiple popup dialog boxes saying No information available. Luckily Barry Rowlingson helpfully pointed out that what I should have been clicking on was the station interchange circles and the little offset lugs from each line and not the name itself.


Will this be the last word in Tube map pastiches? Probably not. Does it take a certain sort of mad cartographical endeavour to bring this all together? Probably. Has it wasted far too much of my time digging into the Tube maps I already know and showing me ones I didn’t? Maybe. Have I had masses of almost educational fun playing with this map? Absolutely.

Written and posted from home (51.427051, -0.333344)

From Wasserklo to Grashügel by way of Königskreuz St. Pankraz; The London U-Bahn Map

Yesterday I took the S-Bahn from my local train station in the suburbs of London. At the terminus at Wasserklo I took the Nördlich U-Bahn Linie to Königskreuz St. Pankraz, changing onto the Städtich Linie and finally alighted at Grashügel. No. Wait. That’s not right.

What I actually did was take the South West Trains suburban line into London Waterloo, hopped on the Northern Line to King’s Cross St. Pancras and then changed onto the Metropolitan Line and got off at Farringdon. What’s going on here?


This is the London Underground map, but not as we know it. Horst Prillinger has taken all the station names and translated them, sometimes literally, sometimes using the underlying etymology of the name. As Horst says in his accompanying blog post, back in 2004 when this first surfaced …

The results range from sensibly boring to downright absurd, and the weird thing is that some of the funniest translations are in fact not made up, but the actual etymological meaning of the place name.

Obviously, you need to have a pretty good command of German to find this funny.

I have only a cursory command of the German language but I was still able to find this clever and funny in equal measures.

Written and posted from home (51.427051, -0.333344)

Re-imagining Berlin’s U-Bahn And S-Bahn System

This is another mass transit map, but this time it’s not of the London Underground system, but the U-Bahn and S-Bahn system in Berlin. The name U-Bahn derives from Untergrundbahn, or underground railway whilst S-Bahn comes from Stadtschnellbahn, or fast city train.

As a general rule of thumb, the London Underground is, as the name suggests, underground in the centre of the city and surfaces as you move into the suburbs. The same can’t be said of the U-Bahn and S-Bahn, which is underground and overground in pretty much equal measures over a lot of the network.

But this post is not about the official map of Berlin’s transport, it’s about this, unofficial, map of Berlin’s underground and not so underground trains.

Berlin - Octolinear

Not content with reworking London’s Underground network maps, Maxwell Roberts has turned his sights on Berlin’s, producing not only a rework map which looks very similar to the official London map, but also one which is all curves, with not a straight line to be seen.

Berlin - Curved

I hope that both Berlin’s BVG and S-Bahn Berlin are aware of Maxwell’s work. As a fairly regular traveller to Berlin, I use the U and S-Bahn a lot and whilst the official map is accurate, it’s not the easiest of thing to use at times.

Photo Credits: Maxwell Roberts via The Local.
Written and posted from home (51.427051, -0.333344)

There’s More Underneath London Than Just Trains

Oh yes, look. Gary’s written yet another post about a map of the London Tube system that he likes. Yawn. Time to move on. But wait … this may look like a map of the London Underground but it’s not.

Now I may have been guilty of wearing my heart on my sleeve slightly too much where variations on a theme of the London Underground map have been concerned; there’s at least seven posts on this topic already posted.

Granted, there’s the Northern Line on the map; but this is more for a sense of geographical perspective than anything else.

The Hidden City

The blue lines aren’t branches of the Piccadilly Line. They’re the rivers that have been long lost and yet still run under the streets of London; the Fleet, the Effra, the Westbourne and Stamford Brook. Historical point of note; the Jubilee Line was originally going to be called the Fleet Line, although the path of the line followed the course of the (also buried) Tyburn rather than the Fleet, but was renamed the Jubilee to coincide with the Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II.

Likewise, the orange lines aren’t the Overground, they’re sewers, nor is the red line the Central Line, it’s the Post Office railway or Mail Rail.

So it may look like a map of the Tube, but it’s anything but. It’s all the work of Richard Fairhurst, who’s made a few maps in his time; they’re well worth a look.

Written and posted from home (51.427051, -0.333344)

Lodged Donor Nun Run; The Anagram Map Of The London Underground

If you think you know the map of the London Underground network think again. You probably think the Metropolitan Line runs between Amersham and Aldgate; but on this map it doesnt. Instead, it runs between Ram Shame and Data Gel. The southwest termini for the District Line are Richmond and Wimbledon. Maybe not. According to this map, Inch Dorm and Bowel Mind are the end of the line. It’s good to know I used to live near Foldaway Rhumba rather than Fulham Broadway, that Nokia’s central London office is just by Apt Nodding and I feel sorry for someone who lives near Lancaster Gate, sorry, I mean Castrate Angel.


It’s amazing what you get when you make anagrams out of each and every station on the Tube network.

Written and posted from home (51.427051, -0.333344)

Re-imagining The London Tube Map With Curves And Circles

Another day, another map and another #mapgasm post. Actually another 2 maps, both of which are by Max Roberts and both of which have appeared on Annie Mole’s Going Underground blog.

Continuing my fascination with the map of the London Underground, which I may have posted about before, Max has been wondering what the Tube Map would look like if it was all curved.


Or maybe, just maybe what it would be like if the Tube Map was circular, in the most literal of fashions.


I wonder what Harry Beck would think of these re-imaginings of his iconic map; I think he’d probably approve.

Photo Credits: Max Roberts and Annie Mole on Flickr.
Written and posted from home (51.427051, -0.333344)

Of W3G, AGI And Other Geographical Acronyms

In November 2008 I was still working for Yahoo and a fledgling meetup event for people interested in maps, location, geo and mobile started up in London. It was, and still is, called GeoMob. I was at GeoMob’s very first event, talking about Yahoo’s Fire Eagle location brokering platform. Four years later and it was great to go back, see GeoMob still flourishing despite a brief hiatus in 2010, and meet up with a lot of old friends as well as meet some new ones.

And what an evening it was. Truly a veritable feast of maps. David Overton spoke about SplashMaps, his Kickstarter funded project to produce lightweight printable fabric maps for outdoors.

I didn’t think it was possible to map happiness but apparently it is and George MacKerron showed how with the aptly entitled Mappiness project.

Staying with tangible maps, Anna Butler from Wellingtons Travel wowed the audience with her lovingly hand drawn map of the centre of London, styled after the glorious illustrated maps of yesteryear. Almost all the audience immediately added a copy of her map to their Christmas lists en masse.

Awesome hand-drawn map of London is awesome #geomob

And then there was James Cheshire who, along with Ollie O’Brien, runs Spatial Analysis and they’d produced Lives On The Line, a map of the life expectancy of Londoners along the path of the London Underground lines. Not only maps, but Tube maps. What more can you want?

Finally, standing between the audience and a thirst quenching GeoBeer or two, it was my turn. This wasn’t my usual talk. No mapporn. Not even that many pithy or wryly amusing images. Just some raising of awareness for the W3G conference and the AGI. As usual, the slide deck is below and the notes follow after the break.

Read On…