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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Curvy Tube Map

A guest post from map man
Maxwell Roberts who wonders whether the "rules" behind Harry Beck's London Underground map are past their sell by date:

Curvy Tube Map by Maxwell Roberts - click to see a larger version

"A lot of people take the Underground map and play about with the names. Anyone can do it (unless the TfL copyright lawyers get them), and awarding a Turner Prize for this seems to be going a bit far to me. Quite a lot of people have got in touch with me, who like me are not happy with the current Underground map design, too many zig-zagging kinks rather than the elegant straight lines of times long ago. Several people have had a go at redoing the Underground map themselves to get rid of the worst of them, and generally they seem to do a better job than the 'experts' at TfL.

Myself, I have been wondering whether Henry Beck's rules are past their sell-by date (he was wondering this himself towards the end of his life). Once a metro system gets complicated, it's virtually impossible to show it well by using them, so I've been having a go at throwing the rules in the dustbin instead.


Curvy Tube Map Detail by Maxwell Roberts

The all-curves map is completely new, you won't have seen it before. (I'd seen Max's previous map at a London Underground Railway Society lecture) I've got rid of the kinks by having smooth gentle curves all the way, in theory easier for the eye to follow because a lot of the jerkiness has gone. I would be interested in people's responses to this map. A lot of people (not particularly map geeks) say that it is inviting and fun to look at."

I like it, although it does remind me of a wasp or some strange insect with a long proboscis forming the eastern end of the Central Line. If you can get out of the habit of seeing Beck's as the norm, although it's a bit disturbing at first, I think the kinkless ones make more sense.

But as Max says he'd be interested in hearing your thoughts and if you want to see the whole map click from here.


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