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!
Unofficial Map: London Underground Map Recreated Entirely in CSS
Even though I’m mainly a print designer, I’ve done enough web design work to know how fiddly (yet also powerful) Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) can be. That’s why I’m totally in awe of this incredibly accurate rendition of the Tube Map, created with nothing but code by John Galatini. Not one image file to be seen! Johnston Sans is recreated with a web font, while the symbols for accessibility, National Rail, ferries, the Emirates Airline, etc. seen on the map are all “drawn” completely with CSS code. John estimates that the project took around 120 hours to complete, and I can believe him!
While the project’s website gives some great technical information on how the map was achieved, I prefer John’s own description on Twitter:
“It’s basically lots of rectangles and squares, lots of border-radius (to create circles) and a shit load of css rotation.”
Our rating: An astounding example of what CSS can do. Five stars!
(Source: CSS Tube website)
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.
(Back in) Time Tunnel
I love it when people find old transit maps still in situ at stations. This Northern Line map at Embankment dates from sometime prior to 1999 (the year that the Jubilee Line platforms at Charing Cross closed), but is still in place today — this photo was taken on February 21, 2013.
Note also the beautiful 1914 green glazed tiles next to the map.
London Underground Abstract: Barbican
I’m totally loving this series of work by Nick Saltmarsh on Flickr. By zooming right in on details of the Tube Map, he makes us take another look at something that’s so familiar and ubiquitous.
Check out the full set here. Some are more successful than others, but all are interesting… and some make awesome abstract art pieces.
Official Maps: In-Car Strip Maps for Loop or Circle Lines
An anonymous follower asks: “Do you have any examples of a line map for a loop/circle line? I’m curious as to how those are implemented.”
Transit Maps says:
Generally, a strip map for a loop or circle line follows much the same principles as a usual one, although the available space may have to be used a little more creatively in order to fit things in. Above are a few interesting examples.
London’s Circle Line: With recent additions, this line is no longer a true loop — for which the travelling public is sincerely thankful, as any problems on the Circle used to impact the District and Hammersmith & City lines terribly, throwing much of the Underground into chaos. From the picture above, it can be seen that the Circle Line’s strip map utilises a much deeper space above the doors than many Underground strip maps do. Often, they run in a single, shallow line above the windows of the carriage. The other lines that share track with the Circle Line are also shown, but not lines that cross it: these are shown as standard interchanges instead.
Chicago’s Orange Line: This line runs around Chicago’s central Loop and returns back the way it came. The map handles things in a pretty straightforward way, although, interestingly, the thickness of the route line halves while it’s going around the loop. The direction of travel around the loop is clearly indicated with arrows.
Tokyo’s Yamanote Line: Of course, the Japanese use technology to display information about their famous circle line! Each car on the Yamanote Line has LCD displays that indicate the current station (the red box), as well as the estimated time to the next few stations. The display alternates between Japanese and English information.
Glasgow Subway: Well, the whole subway is a loop — earning the system the nickname “The Clockwork Orange” — so all their maps look like this. Despite the inner and outer loops travelling in opposite directions, this map neglects to point out which one goes where!
Video: Making of a London Underground String Map
Feeling creative? Why not make a string art replica of your favourite subway system as shown in this awesome video? The pro tip is definitely the taping down of the actual map before putting in the nails for guaranteed fidelity to the real thing.
(Source: fsm vpggru/Vimeo)
Unofficial Map: Circular Tube Map by Maxwell Roberts
Apparently, circular Tube Maps are like London buses — none come forever, then two arrive at the same time.
This one is by Maxwell Roberts, an expert on the London Underground map if there ever was one. He’s personally redrawn multiple, multiple versions of the map in just about every possible configuration, just to see what works and what doesn’t. Many are featured in his excellent book, Underground Maps Unravelled, which I promise I’ll review properly one day.
Wisely, Roberts has confined his map to the traditional view of Greater London itself, with trains headed to distant places given an arrow pointer towards that destination.
Interestingly, most of his route lines radiate out from a central point, but some run parallel to other routes instead. This makes the design less rigid to a design ideal, but also upsets the visual flow of the diagram in a couple of places — I find the parallel Bakerloo and Metropolitan Lines in the northwest part of the map quite jarring.
Roberts’ interchange stations are much tighter than Fisher’s, looking far more like “traditional” Tube Map markers, but some are still very convoluted in making their connections between lines, such as at Farringdon/Barbican.
The London Underground logo “hidden” in the Circle Line is a bit of a gimmicky design affectation, although it actually works surprisingly well in the context of the diagram.
Overall, I think this version is more successful than Jonny Fisher’s, although I still don’t really see it as a viable alternative to the current official map. Neither does Mr. Roberts, who says, “Overall though, I don’t think I will be sending this one to TfL for comments. No great advances in usability here, but it was fun to make it.” Three-and-a-half stars.
(Source: Going Underground blog — click through for more detailed analysis from Maxwell Roberts himself)
Historical Map: Railways of London, showing the Metropolitan and District Lines, 1889
One last post for the Tube’s 150th birthday (it’s still the 9th of January here on the West Coast of the United States!). This is the oldest map I can find that shows what would later be known as the London Underground: an 1889 map of London’s railways — still some 26 years after the first part of the Metropolitan Line opened.
Main line routes are shown in red and the newfangled “underground lines” are shown in blue. The newly completed Circle Line — a cooperation between the two competing Underground operators — can clearly be seen on the map.
Vintage “Punch” Magazine Tube Map Cartoon
Lovely little Edwardian piece of whimsy to welcome the weekend.
(Source: Annie Mole/Flickr)