January 8, 2004, 9:43 am
Looking at the Real Underground
Transportation for London provides a simple Flash movie on its Web site that shows three versions of the London Tube map: the classic 1933 Harry Beck map (shown below), the current map, and the current map as it would look if it matched actual geography.
At http://tube.tfl.gov.uk/content/tubemap/default.asp, click on “The Real Underground (Flash Movie)”.
The map’s schematic treatment of geography and scale is one of its most compelling aspects. The relative placement of stations along the lines, and the lines to the river (the only surface feature shown) provide users of the Tube all the orientation they need.
A more detailed geographically-aligned version of the map can be found at http://www.kordy.dircon.co.uk/misc/lul.gif. A history of London Tube Maps can be found at http://clives.members.easyspace.com/tube/tube.html (site loads very slowly).