Metrography – London Tube Map to large scale collective mental map

2012 Feb

The map illustrates the topology of London reshaped according to the underground map. 150cm × 100cm, lambda print.
The map illustrates the topology of London reshaped according to the underground map. 150cm × 100cm, lambda print.
The map illustrates the topology of London reshaped according to the underground map. 150cm × 100cm, lambda print.
The map illustrates the topology of London reshaped according to the underground map. 150cm × 100cm, lambda print.

Concept + Idea

Benedikt Groß & Bertrand Clerc

Collective Mental Map

London Tube Map

Real World Map Data

OpenStreetMap community

Developed with

Processing, Maperitive, Scriptographer and SAX

Nowadays our orientation is seldom based on the actual geography and their landmarks alone. There are a myriad of alternatives, from street numbers to GPS routing in our smartphones, to guide us to a destination. The feature that all of these wayfinding devices have in common is that they abstract the real world spatial arrangement. For us, the implications of this abstraction are two-fold: First, the simplification of geography translates into a filtering of information and context and second, the longer we rely on these wayfinding devices, the more we become accustomed to a curated geography. This is most prominent in public transit maps which distort the spatial dimensions of a city into comprehensible nodes and lines. These distortions have a major influence on our perception of a city’s geography, often times defining our own individual mental maps of space and thus becoming the collective representation of the real world’s geography.

‘Metrography’ attempts to explore this phenomenon using the most famous of transit maps: the London Tube Map.

Inner city area
Inner city area
River around Canary Wharf
River around Canary Wharf

Similar to the process of my MapMap Vauxhall project, all real world geographical locations of stations, railway tracks and thames riverbanks have been matched with the corresponding positions on the London Tube Map.

Real Geography of London’s Underground Network
Real Geography of London’s Underground Network
Reshaped Structure According to the London Tube Map
Reshaped Structure According to the London Tube Map

First video shows the mathematical deformation mesh, which is applied in the second clip to tube stations, railways and the river thames. Both videos start with the real world geography and blend then gradually over to the Tube Map structure.

With the help of the second clip it is also much easier to understand what the main deformations are. Basically the inner city parts are scaled up and the edges are compressed and marginalized.

Exhibition

Metrography @ Information In Style – Information Visualization in the UK, CAFA Art Museum, Beijing

2013–9

Exhibition, “Metrography”, Information In Style – Information Visualization in the UK, CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, CN

Publication

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Generative Design @ The Digital Turn: Design in the Era of Interactive Technologies

2013–3

Interview/Text, “Generative Design”, The Digital Turn: Design in the Era of Interactive Technologies, ISBN: 3906027023, Park Books

Exhibition

Metrography @ Visualizing Gallery Brücknerhaus, Ars Electronica, Linz

2012–9

Exhibition, “Metrography” is featured on Visualizing Gallery Brücknerhaus, Ars Electronica, Linz, AT

Press

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Metrography @ WIRED

2012–4

Feature Article, “Metrography”, WIRED Magazine UK, April Issue, UK

Talk

Speculative Maps and Open Data @ W3C, Open Data on the Web Workshop

2012–4

Speaker, “Speculative Maps and Open Data”, Open Data on the Web Workshop, W3C, London, UK

Talk

Mashing up OSM and Mental Maps @ geomobLDN London

2012–3

Speaker, “Mashing up OSM and Mental Maps”, geomobLDN, London, UK