There are a lot of Tube map-inspired maps of non-Tube map things out there, and not all of them are worth mentioning. This one, however, is: Sasha Trubetskoy’s map of the major roads of the Roman Empire in the year 125, done up like a subway diagram, colour-coded by name (both real, where available, and “creatively invented,” where not) and with all text in Latin.
Transport for London also operates river buses along the Thames; their maps of the London River Services are very much in the Tube map vein, in both tourist and non-tourist versions:
Of the tourist version Ollie O’Brien of Mapping London says this: “We like the pseudo-tube-map styling, although it could of course be simplified even further, with the Thames just being shown as a straight line. The inclusion of isometric squares showing the major landmarks near each pier is a nice touch. TfL has never really decided whether its river services are for tourists or commuters, but this map should satisfy both.”
A thing from 2015 that I hadn’t seen until recently: Londonist’s Tube Map of Roman London. “Stations indicate sites of major Roman landmarks, such as gates in the wall, municipal buildings and temples. Nobody knows what the Romans called their creations, so we’ve used the modern names, like Ludgate and Bishopsgate, which are medieval in origin. Stations in bold indicate locations where Roman remains are still accessible to the public.” [Londonist]
Speaking of Londonist, they had a great deal of fun pedantically savaging a decidedly unofficial tube map shower curtain. “This error-ridden shower curtain was purchased via a random seller on ebay, whom we’re not going to gratify with a link. A bit of googling reveals that tube shower curtains are a bit of a thing. There are many variations out there, all presumably knocked together and marketed without permission from Transport for London.” (So much of a thing that I thought I’d linked to something like this before, but apparently not. No doubt my readers can send me links.)
End of the Line is an attempt to be the last word in tube map pastiche. […]
While Beck himself likely ‘copied’ a number of aspects that ended up on his map he did so with consummate skill to create something unique, innovative and functional. Most subsequent schematic maps are pale imitations. We wrote a semi-academic paper about it which you can access from my blog here.
All too often we see transit map templates used as a short-cut to recognition and success. With no hint of irony whatsoever (!) we’ve done exactly the same and mapped the weird and wonderful world of Becksploited maps onto some tube lines and stations.
Becksploitation. There’s a term for you. It’s not like there’s no use for it.
We’ve seen geographically accurate maps of the London Underground, in which the Tube map is corrected for geography. In London Corrected, the geography is corrected for the Tube map. (The interface allows you to fade between the distorted road map and the Tube map.) [Mark Ovenden]
A freedom of information request sent to Transport for London in 2013 turned up this 2009 map of the London Underground’s track network (17.1 MB PDF)—complete with sidings, switches and yards. Among other things, you can see how a train can cross from one line to another. CityMetric picked up the story last week and it’s gone seriously viral since then: Boing Boing, Jalopnik, Wired.
If this is the sort of thing that fascinates you, you should go look at Franklin Jarrier’s maps of urban rail networks (which I told you about in 2011). These aren’t official maps, but they do for many systems around the world what the map above does for the Tube.
The Tube map, like other diagrammatic transit network maps, does not show distances between stations very well: two adjacent stations on the map could be right on top of each other or miles apart. Last November Transport for London released a map showing walking times between each station (PDF); news stories at the time connected it to imminent strikes by Tube workers. Now they’ve released another walking map, this one showing the number of steps between each station (PDF), which is presumably mainly of interest to people with activity trackers (pedometers, fitness bands and smart watches) that count their steps. News coverage from the Daily Standard. [Map Makers]
Londonist has a “first peek” at the new Tube map, scheduled to be released next month. “Open it up, and you’ll see something straight away that is new—for the first time, TfL has added in the trams, even though they’ve been running since May 2000.”
Speaking of London, Londonist has published an illustrated history of the Tube map, with examples both pre- and post-Beck.
Designer Cameron Booth wondered whether London’s Tube Map could simply be drawn better. “There’s no doubt in my mind that the current iteration of the Tube Map is a diagram that’s almost completely forgotten that it is one. There’s very little rhythm, balance or flow to the composition of the map outside the central ‘thermos flask’, and there’s shockingly little use of a underlying unifying grid. As a result, nothing really aligns properly with anything else anymore.” His solution included getting rid of fare zones, redrawing accessibility icons, rejigging alignments, and lots of other changes. Read his post and his follow-up post for the end result (or results: he’s continuing to refine the map).
Jug Cerović has reimagined the map of London’s transit network. It’s one of several transit maps that share a common design language. Mapping London calls it “a lovely map of the London system that manages to combine the tube and commuter rail networks into a single map that is clear and pleasant to read, unlike the official ones. The INAT London Metro Map is a lesson in simplifying and making attractive a complex topological map.” Though I think the rhetoric about moving away from Beck is a bit overdone—it’s not like we’re completely abandoning diagrammatic map design here.
Previously: A Geographically Accurate Tube Map.