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The evolution of the London Tube Map

The iconic London Underground map has seen many revamps in the 105 years since its birth, but now Dr Max Roberts has revolutionised the traditional topological map in favour of a design based on concentric circles.

In his guest post on the ‘Going Underground’ blog, Dr Roberts writes: “”With the new orbital loop surrounding Central London, some people are suggesting a mapping approach based on circles to emphasise this feature. There is nothing new here, and Berlin, Paris, Moscow and Madrid have all received this treatment in the past. Grounding a map in familiar shapes such as circles can make it easy to comprehend.”

However he recognises that it is possible to “push a design priority too far”.

Check out the evolution of the London Map over time.
The first combined map was published in 1908 by the Underground Electric Railways Company of London (UERL) in conjunction with four other underground railway companies using the “Underground” brand as part of a common advertising initiative
The first publically issued folder version of the famous Harry Beck diagram of the London Underground system as issued in 1933 – the Piccadilly line northern extension has yet to be opened from Oakwood (Enfield West) to Cockfosters.
A modern day tube map, from April 2011

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