File Under Awesome: London Tube Map Recreated With Lego Bricks
Sent my way by just about everyone this morning, this Lego map is one of five located at Tube stations across London as another part of the Tube’s 150th birthday celebrations. Each map shows the Tube at a different stage of development from the 1920s right through to the version shown here: a near-future map for 2020.
Painstakingly assembled from thousands of Lego bricks, the map looks great, although Neil Bennett from Digital Arts notes that its actual usefulness is pretty limited:
“… in the few moments we were there, tourists and travellers attempted to use the map to navigate their way across London and soon wandered off in search of a real map looking confused. Others were more impressed, and joined us in snapping photos of the map.”
Seeing as the maps are more art than information design, I don’t really see this as a huge problem, myself. The maps will remain on display at King’s Cross (this map), South Kensington, Piccadilly Circus, Green Park, and Stratford stations over the summer, and then will be transferred to the London Transport Museum.
London Underground Quilt
Made as a wedding gift for two transit nerd friends, this is beautiful work. The artist wasn’t content with just Zone 1 or a simplification: this is the whole map, including the DLR and the Overground with their distinctive white centre-stroked route lines.
Click here to view the entire set of photos on Flickr, including lots of work-in-progress shots. Simply stunning!
Historical Map: Tyne and Wear Metro, England, c. 2000
Showing the then-proposed extension to Sunderland, which opened in 2002.
Interestingly, the 60-degree angled section running through Newcastle is flipped the other way compared to the current map (Nov. 2011, 3.5 stars). I’d say the change was mainly made to accommodate the Calvert typeface used on the modern day map: it’s far more attractive than the Futura Condensed on display here, but a lot wider. Without the flip, the labels for South Gosforth and Four Lane Ends stations on the current version would almost certainly clash.
Official Map: H.C. Chambers & Son Bury St. Edmunds - Colchester Routes, England
An attractive and stylish route map on the side of a handsome red double-decker bus. While the service from Bury to Colchester via Bures carries a single route number (753), you actually have to change buses in Sudbury, hence the “double dot” shown there. The timetable on the bus company’s website warns that because of congestion, connections between the two buses at Sudbury may not always be timely.
The second line shown from Sudbury to Colchester via Nayland is actually a separate route, the 84. Handy information if you miss your connection to the Colchester leg of the 753, I guess…
While this bus looks fantastic, the same can’t be said for the H.C. Chambers & Son website, which is completely craptacular.
Historical Map: London Connections, 1988
The reverse side of the British Rail Network SouthEast map, showing the detailed view of the area surrounding London. While this map is designed in a very similar style (at the same time, by the same people) to the regional map, I feel it’s slightly less successful for a few reasons.
The inclusion of the London Underground introduces many more colors to the map, which instantly makes it feel much busier. After using all these familiar and well-established colours for the Underground, there really aren’t many colours left to use for the main line/Network SouthEast routes. So they get saddled with orange, a very vivid, powerful colour that visually dominates the map, especially south of the Thames.
Interestingly, the London Overground — a service which has largely been formed from parts of these old main line routes — also uses orange as its route colour: is this map the origin of that designation?
Other points of interest: The Docklands Light Railway, opened the previous year, is shown but has not yet acquired its distinctive teal route colour. The Waterloo & City Line (a very short line between Waterloo and Bank stations) is still part of British Rail, not the Underground.
See also this British Rail map from 1965 (May 2012, 4.5 stars) that covers a very similar area but omits the Underground.
Our rating: A fine piece of work that skillfully incorporates a lot of information, but not as excellent as its sibling. Three stars.
Historical Map: British Rail Network SouthEast, 1988
Network SouthEast was an operating division of British Rail that was formed in 1982 (although it was known as London & South Eastern until 1986). It was responsible for inter-city and commuter rail for the densely-populated south east of England, including London. Of course, beginning in 1994, Network SouthEast was privatised along with the rest of British Rail, leading to the convoluted network of private rail companies we see today.
But what we have here is a very handsome network map, which obviously owes a great deal to the London Underground map, but has enough of its own identity to stand alone. This is mainly achieved by the removal of the Underground’s distinctive Johnston Sans typeface, replaced with what looks like a condensed Helvetica or similar Gothic face.
The map is broken down into six regions, which are cleverly shown by only using three repeating colours (red, blue and grey): this prevents the map from looking too rainbow-like and gives it a more corporate feeling. A fourth colour — orange — is used to show the brand-new ThamesLink service running north-south through London.
The London region itself only shows main terminals and connecting stations: a more detailed map of this area is shown on the reverse of this map: this keeps the map clean and uncluttered.
About the only real problem I have with this map is the colour of the water, which is almost exactly the same as the blue type that is used to denote connecting ferry services and ports. For example, there’s a ferry to France from Newhaven Harbour, but it’s very difficult to make that out.
Our rating: An excellent example of mid-1980s map design (remember: this is still before computers entered the design field, so a map of this complexity was quite an undertaking). Four stars.
Historical Map: Railways in Cornwall, 1936
An absolutely gorgeous hand-drawn map from a “Little Guide” to Cornwall published by Methuen in 1936. Drawn by B.C. Boulter, who also illustrated the guide book.
Historical Map: Circular London Underground Map Sketch, Harry Beck, c. 1964
For those who thought that the two circular London Underground diagrams I featured earlier this year — by Jonny Fisher and Maxwell Roberts — were a completely modern twist on an old classic, here’s a reminder of just how forward-thinking Harry Beck really was.
This is a sketch, dated to 1964 at the earliest (due to his adoption of Paul Garbutt’s dot-in-a-circle device for main line interchange stations), that presents the Circle Line as a perfect ellipse. Quite a stunning contrast to his usual rigidly rectilinear diagrams, if perhaps ultimately not a huge improvement — much as the two modern maps are exercises in design, rather than a replacement for the original. Note also that this beautiful sketch is entirely hand-drawn: not a computer to be seen in it’s creation.
(Source: Scanned from my personal copy of Mr. Beck’s Diagram by Ken Garland, Capital Transport Publishing, 1994)
Unofficial Map: Live Map of London Underground Trains
Submitted by Travertine Libertine without comment.
Transit Maps says:
Created by Matthew Somerville.
Totally hypnotic after a while as all those little yellow train dots start racing around (it kind of reminds me of a mash-up between the Scotland Yard board game and the original Railroad Tycoon). Childhood reminiscing done, it really is amazing what can be done with raw data pulled via an API these days. Stuff like this is the future of transit information.
Historical Map: (1985?) London Tube Map
This map has certainly seen better days! The fact that the Hammersmith & City (salmon pink) line is not shown dates this map prior to 1990: the “peak hour only” dashed line on the very light purple Metropolitan Line, combined with the black text for station names leads me to believe that this is the 1985 map. By 1987, the Metropolitan Line had become a much darker colour, and station labels were the now-familiar blue.