Thursday, February 23, 2006

Fun with maps!

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The London Underground map is an iconic symbol, mimicked by many, equalled by none. You can find it on T-shirts, teacups, coffee mugs, purses, overnight bags, pencil cases and various other touristy tchotsckes. D.C. has attemted to duplicate the iconography of the Tube map with T-shirts and mouse pads of its Metro map, but as with many things, nothing matches the original. (And I've never seen anything similar for New York's subways or Chicago's El. Readers can correct me on this point if I'm wrong.)

And as with all things iconic, the Tube map spawns many fun imitators. A recent meme on London-centric blogs of late has been the variety of ways in which people have spoofed the Tube map. London Underground Tube Diary now has a map that supposes the various ways corporations could buy sponsorships of various stations, while London Geezer (Feb. 11 post) links a number of various other spoof maps, including one that is described as "sweary." (Do not click on the "sweary" link unless one can watch the Comedy Central show "Drawn Together" without gagging.) My favorite: the musical version.


Blogger GWPDA said...

Smitty, I'm only gonna say this once, 'cause you know me and the Borg are not really chummy just now. But you know your getting money problems? American Express is your friend. They got plastic, they got pound and euro cheques that can be cashed anywhere and they got chequing accounts.

Besides, going to visit the original office in the middle of London? It's something Scott & Zelda did. Or didn't but would have done. Certainly Hemingway did.

1:47 PM  
Blogger Smitty Werbenmanjensen said...

Excellent advice. I'd be crying if it weren't so comical. Three months for an ATM card is really just silly.

1:51 PM  
Blogger Schmutz said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:01 PM  
Blogger Middle Kid said...

I think I owned one of the Tube tshirts when I was 7 or 8 years old (while Smitty was rolling around in the water yelling, "I can't swim."). I don't think it still fits.

3:30 PM  
Blogger Schmutz said...

I have a plastic shopping bag and a jigsaw puzzle of the Tube map. I started to say earlier that I understand stations on the map and on the surface don't always match. I read that the man who drew the map was trying to make it simple and logical for riders to follow and not necessarily accurate in relation to the surface. Perhaps, Smitty, you could research this? Anyway, I think he was successful since we, who are from a very rural area and who seldom use subways and trains, were able to get around London quite nicely when we visited many years ago.

3:43 PM  
Blogger Smitty Werbenmanjensen said...

If you follow the links, you will find this map that does a better job of displaying where the various Tube lines go. The answer is that yes, Harry Beck's design was made to be easily understood, which is why every train line in the world does a similar thing.

4:11 PM  
Blogger Schmutz said...

"This map" is very interesting - gives a different perspective.

4:51 PM  

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