Mechanical

Tube Maps

If you live in London, you're pretty much dependent on the Tube map.

Standard Tube Map

(Original Here}

However, recently I found myself at BlackFriars Station (southeast Circle (yellow) Line) and discovered it was closed. Knowing there are Tube stations scattered all over the city, I started walking north, only to find myself at Farringdons Station (northeast Circle Line). They don't to look to me to be that close on the Tube map, but a fried pointed me a geographically accurate Tube map. Those stations, despite being on opposite sides of the Circle Line, are actually quite close together.

Geographically Accurate Tube Map

(Original here)

What a fun city.
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I've read multiple places, such as The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, that what makes the London tube map interesting is that it doesn't represent geographic reality. It's a model that emphasizes the abstract system in terms of getting from one place to another and within the system.

A tourist wanting to get from Heathrow to London Bridge doesn't need to know the twists and and turns of the London street map to take the tube, only very roughly the direction and what lines to take, and to change trains at Green Park.
I must say I adore the tube map. It's absolutely fascinating and the overly stylised-ness just adds to its charm (although making it arguably less useful), there are a couple of places where you assume you need to take 20 mins worth of tube rides when if you get out and walk you'll be there in about 3.

I tend to favour the buses as actual transport when in London though simply because I love looking out of windows and seeing what's going on.

I also love looking at artwork based on the tube map like The Great Bear. The current IFAW posters on platforms at the moment are rather good too, although based on old ideas: http://www.animalsontheunderground.com/the_animals.html and I've been using the shapes in my own work too.

Hmm - I didn't realise what a TFL squeeing fangirl I was until this comment!