Pink Dog

London Tube Map: Bring back the Thames! #tubemap

The new London Tube map is out, and overall it’s a big improvement on the most recent versions. There’s been a thorough decluttering, removing a lot of the fiddly, little used detail which usually gets added because someone says “But we must include…” and no-one replies “Putting more and more on a piece of paper doesn’t mean you get more and more over to its readers”.

Here are the old and new versions:

London Tube map: previous version
London Tube map: new edition

Aside from the improvements, the new map has three issues:

(a) a smattering of typos / inconsistencies

(b) the disabled access information is still stuck in the worst of both worlds – extremely intrusive on the map design and yet also very incomplete in terms of the information you may actually need

(c) the Thames is no more

Yes, you can whizz over or under the Thames by Tube or bus without having to know where it is, but it is still a useful frame of reference for the map – and without the Thames the map takes a step back in providing integrated transport information for it means it’s less useful in giving information about the Thames riverboat services. Instead of having the blue line of the Thames to mark their route, you have to hop from station icon to station icon to work out where the route goes.

5 responses to “London Tube Map: Bring back the Thames! #tubemap”

  1. I’d add another issue, too – unless you have a long-term zones 1-6 travelcard, it’s surely quite handy to have the zones marked on a map, so you don’t have to try and work out how much you need to pay, or guess and get fined…

  2. Interesting timing. The subway in San Francisco (BART) is just putting out their new stripped down map as well. We were the cartographers on the project. Your quote about data that keeps getting added over time (aka map creep) is something we encountered as well. We did keep the water on these since the ‘Bay Area’ revolves around water and bridges.
    See old and new here http://www.flickr.com/photos/juliegoetzen/2227400621/ and
    http://bart.gov/stations/index.aspx

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