London Underground Maps

July 3, 2010

After the last post about the grid map of London, inspired by the map of the London Underground, we tried to find an image that we could copy here, but it is copyrighted to Transport for London.

The London Tube map was originally created by Harry Beck in 1931. He realized that the bends and changes in direction did not matter to passengers, they just wanted to know how to get from one place to another, and he produced a stylised map where all lines are either horizontal, vertical or at 45 degrees. Drawings of simple electrical circuits are made with a similar approach.

The following is an image from 1908, showing underground train lines overlaid on a road map.

London Underground Map, 1908

London Underground Map, 1908

The London tube map has inspired many other map. Other underground, or metro, systems have based their maps on this London map, and there are joke maps where the names of stations can be replaced by the the names of people or words (children could create their own maps of their local area in this way).

World Metro Map by Mark Ovenden

World Metro Map by Mark Ovenden


One of these is a World Metro Map by Mark Ovenden which comes from his book “Transit Maps of the World”, which looked so interesting we bought a copy!

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