Friday, May 29, 2015

Terraforming London to Fit the Tube Map

The biggest problem with London is that its geography doesn't accurately conform to the London Underground map. Harry Beck's famous London Underground map distorts geographical space on order to make the Underground map more legible for users.

To overcome the distortions of Harry Beck's map we could of course create a more geographically accurate map of the Underground. The problem with this however is that the resulting map is far less legible and frankly nowhere near as beautiful as Harry Beck's original map.

Maybe we could skew and distort Harry Beck's Underground map to fit the geography of London. We could take Ben Schmidt's approach to transit maps by stretching, squeezing and rotating the London Underground map to align it with the underlying geography of the city. However, if you have a look at Ben's MTA Map of Actual New York, you can see that the result again tends to ruin the aesthetic of the original transit map.

No ... the best and only solution is to terraform the topography and geography of London so that it conforms more accurately to Harry Beck's map. There is the obvious added bonus that after terraforming, London will also finally be suitable for human life. Thankfully Metrography has already created the map of this new London.

The Metrography Map of London transforms the geography of London so that it more accurately represents the London depicted in Harry Beck's London Underground map.

To create this map Metrography uses the Thames and Underground stations from the London Underground Map as fixed positions. They then distort the real geography of London to fit these fixed positions from Harry Beck's map. The result is a London which conforms to the Underground map and is therefore much easier for everyone to navigate.

Work on the New London terraforming project begins next week. London Underground apologize in advance for any disruption you may experience during these essential engineering works.

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