London Tube Map by Mark Noad Design


London Tube Map by Mark Noad Design

London designer Mark Noad has revamped the London Underground map to be more geographically accurate.

London Tube Map by Mark Noad Design

The diagram uses lines set at 30 and 60 degree angles, unlike the original map by Harry Beck that uses 45 degrees angles only.

London Tube Map by Mark Noad Design

Station names are typed in a more space-efficient font that can be easily read on mobile devices as well as in print.

London Tube Map by Mark Noad Design

An interactive version of the map can be viewed on a dedicated website.

See also: city street maps that can survive being being screwed up and stuffed into a pocket or bag.

Here are some more details from Noad:

As a born and bred Londoner, I’ve always taken the Tube Map for granted, but as a designer, I’ve listened with interest to friends from outside London and overseas saying how confusing they find it. The major criticism of the diagram is that it bears little or no relation to London at street level.

The original London Underground diagram, designed by Harry Beck is one of the greatest designs of the twentieth century. He rationalised and clarified a complex system to produce a simple, easy to follow piece of information graphics.

Over the years, the Underground system has grown and now has twice as many lines as there were in Beck’s day (the last version he worked on was produced in 1960). Although the current diagram still follows the same principles, they have not been applied with any great care. A good example is the London Overground network which has been shoe-horned in leaving stations nowhere near their neighbours on other lines

If Harry Beck saw the current diagram, I don’t think he would be happy to put his name to it. So I wondered what he might do if asked to start again with the different parameters we have today:

  • more lines and upcoming additions including Crossrail, the Docklands Light Railway extension and the Northern Line extension to Battersea;
  • the Docklands Light Railway and London Overground moving the emphasis away from the Circle Line loop;
  • developments in technology meaning it is just as likely to be viewed on-screen as it is in print; and
  • many more visitors from outside London, especially for the Olympic Games next year.

The map I’ve created uses similar principles to Beck’s design, fixed line angles – in this case 30 and 60 degrees instead of 45 – and shortens the extremities of the lines to make it more compact.

I commissioned a new condensed typeface which makes better use of the space, New Underground Condensed, based on Edward Johnston’s original font.

There has been an encouraging initial response which has created a great deal of debate. We are now working on an update to the site that will introduce different layers for the zones, disabled access, walking shortcuts and the times between stations. Users will be able to switch between the layers to find the information they require.

We will also be adding a shop facility where we will be selling posters and pocket-sized versions of the map in response to the many requests we have had.

The app is in development with the Apple one currently being reviewed for approval and the Android one following close behind.

There have been several requests to use the map on websites and in apps and even on canvas for a hotel reception area. We are also actively looking for partners and sponsors to help fund the development of the map.

This is just the start, we want to go much further changing the way you access information from a map.

  • siu

    Leave the original underground map and this could be used “overground”!

  • Let it shut up londoners who think their map is the best.
    NYC is a thousand times better, and faster reading than the original tube map.

    That's a lot of reasons a geographically accurate map is better: calculating distances, and walks, searching on the map for places you know where they are in the city and so on. London's map is a tourist's nightmare.

    • David

      let's not forget that new york was designed using only a piece of graph paper and… well, a pen? – makes things a little simpler. and if your map is so great why don't they put a few more up around the place?! i think having a madrid style map isn't a bad option, but i'd rather have a normal map on the reverse with tube stations a little more clear, and leave the original be… plus if you're naive enough to think that london is arranged in only horizontal, vertical and 45 degree angles, i don't mind you getting lost.

  • sea bass

    As a tube user, I’d rather use the original as it is graphically easier to understand. There doesn’t need to be any relation to the street / suburb above as i’m travelling underground. If I’m meeting my mate at Stockwell, What do I care how far it is from Clapham….

    As a urban designer… it is very interesting…. we can clearly see tube lines that should be better connected….and can easily identify areas of london that are poor lacking in tube infrastructure (ie: South East london)

  • Bojana

    This is really really good.
    I can't believe the bashing comments either – how are we going to get better at anything if we never even try??

    My friend once needed 45 minutes to get from Kings X to Regents park by going via Pickadily circuis, instead of taking Circle to Great portland street and walking, which would have taken 10 minutes.

    However since everybody loves the old map so much (me included) I think realistically it would be better to use the old one + the real geographical map in parallel.

    Good job, nonetheless!

  • syncoa

    I always thought our London tube map was 'primary school' level and the Paris Metro map was 'University' level. Congratulations London tube on your graduation!
    I love it!

  • jimmy

    This is an ace map. It's not been made to replace the existing one, so why the complaining. In London my friends are always suggesting places to go, and with certain tube lines being closed or slow, i find myself switching between my tube app and iphone map to work out the best route. This extra detail is fantastic and I always wondered how the northern lines crossed, and mange to link up with the Victoria northern line. Made myself dizzy thinking about it.

  • Jane

    am so surprised at all these negative comments! It's a great accompaniement to the original tube map, looking at central london the design now bears some relation to the streets i know above ground. it's not as messy as people have said, either.

  • JakeyGee

    Not sure the designers aware, but there have been versions of the geographically correct tube map knocking around for years.

    This is the most professionally finished and most up to date I’ve seen so far, but strictly speaking this isn’t a new idea. Still, useful stuff.

  • I really like it but I think it works best for people who have a good understanding of the physical layout of London – me! I find this MUCH more logical than the standard map that gives completely false representations of how close things are to each other or how far apart they are. I shall have a copy of this map on my iPad and feel It will help me see where the nearest tube station is when walking around London.

  • Edo

    Who cares about a more geographically accurate tube map, it doesn’t need to be and the actual one is beautiful and functional already.