Zany and Alternative Maps for the London Tube

best map photo

Photo: londonist

The London Underground (subway) map is a classic: designed in 1933 by Harry Beck, a modified form of it is still used today.

But many artists have had a yen to redesign this iconic map: the distances between stops are schematic rather than truly geographic and there are all kinds of extra train lines imposed on it now. Recent research found that many travellers make longer journeys than necessary after consulting the map. Here are a few variations on the theme.

tube landy photo

Photo: artdaily

The artist Michael Landy recently asked Tube riders to commit "Acts of Kindness" by submitting short stories of kindness that they have seen or experienced on the Central line of the London subway system. Now he has designed a map called All my lines in the palm of your hand. The work is a tracing of the artist's own hand in pencil; the creases and lines of the hand are represented by lines drawn in the various colours of the Tube map. It's a pocket map of his palm that you can hold in yours.

your tube photo

Photo: yourtube

The 2012 Olympics are coming up fast, so here is a map of all the venues...sort of. This is a map of the different sites which shows the venues hosting related sports connected together on the same coloured lines. It is definitely not to scale and you may never get to your next game if you follow it.

francisco map photo

Photo: londonist

Francisco Dans has created a map that is an abstract beauty, although it may not be the most practical to follow. His curvy design takes the original classic and spirals it all over the town. It is dense in the middle and less so at the outskirts, but after are on your own.

great bear photo

Photo: maeveconwayfried

But the classic, original and wonderful take on the Tube map is The Great Bear created by Simon Pattison in 1992. He adapted the original by replacing all the names of the stations with those of philosophers, actors, saints and other well known personages who were famous at the time. The different professionals are given their own tube lines, on which their names are gathered. For example, the red Central line is for journalists. It's one for the museums and your wall.

More on the London Tube
Be Kind to Your Fellow Commuters
Celebrating Kindness on the Subway
TreeHugger Gets Personal Tour of London Subway System

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