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!
Fantasy Map: River Song’s Timeline Relative to the Doctor’s
Note: Spoilers, sweetie! Both on the map and in the text!
For those people who just have to know the order that things happen in, this is the map for you!
Created by a designer at Doctor Who Online, this all looks pretty plausible to me, although I don’t lie awake at night wondering about temporal paradoxes and crossing one’s own time stream. It even includes River’s appearances in related video games and Season 6 DVD-exclusive mini-episodes, as well as untelevised adventures like the infamous “Jim the Fish”.
The one thing I would add is a line from River’s death in the Library (Forest of the Dead with the 10th Doctor) to her (final?) appearance in The Name of the Doctor, as it’s her data ghost that is stored in the Library after her death that appears in that episode.
Putting my obvious fanboy love of this map aside, it is nice to see the subway map metaphor used intelligently here: the “interchanges” between “routes” (River’s and the Doctor’s separate time streams) actually mean something and help to visually explain a very complex narrative. That it also ends up looking like a big ball of timey-wimey stuff is an added bonus.
Source: Doctor Who Online — click through to see a much bigger (legible) version of the map.
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: 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.
(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.
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)