New Underground Map

I’m quite liking this new approach to the London Underground map by Mark Noad… (The version on Mark’s site is interactive and much more legible than this screen grab)

Although it goes completely against the grain of Harry Becks iconic original, it’s visually similar enough to be able to immediately understand what it is, and yet subtly different enough to be an interesting idea. This alternative approach shows relative distances between stations with a degree of accuracy that Beck’s genius allowed him to move away from, opting instead as he did, to follow the standards of electrical engineering drawings, where the order of things in the diagram is far more important than their actual realtime positions.

The generator for the design apparently was both the increased number of lines (underground and overground) and the ongoing complexity of the system since the first map was published in 1931, with Noad suggesting that Harry Beck wouldn’t come up with his original design if he was looking at it fresh today.

A bold statement indeed…



  1. October 11, 2012 at 00:14

    Years ago I had a fold up full colour A-Z of London out as far as Zone 3c (zone 6-9) these days. When I unfolded it fully it covered the floor of the room, or the whole ed if in the bedroom!

    It had the underground lines marked on the map in their correct colours and relative ‘real space’ locations.

    This map enabled me to get off the train at Leicester Square and stroll to Covent Garden while the lifts there were being refurbished and exhausted commuters were staggering up 150+ steps to get out.

    I walked from Covent Garden or Charring Cross to Waterloo, even in the rain. Crossing the river and taking in the iconic views was one of the greatest gifts of living in London.

    I don’t know what happened to that map, but it would save a load of congestion if such maps were given to tourists of at least Zone 1 & 2. London is a great place to explore by foot, anytime I venture into the city these days, I always make sure I get a view of the majestic Thames as she enters the final part of her journey to the sea, before I head home.

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