Ming the Mechanic:
Silly Tube Maps

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Silly Tube Maps2006-03-16 02:26
10 comments
picture
by Flemming Funch

Anybody who's ever made it through the Underground in London, on a day when they weren't striking, will know and possibly love the well-known map of lines and stations that guides your way. A masterpiece of clear design. But also, because it is so well known, an obvious opportunity for improving it a bit by remixing it. You can scramble the station names into fun anagrams as seen above. You can lay out the map the way it would look if it were geographically correct. You can translate it into German, you can pretend that the stations were sponsored by big corporations, etc. So, a fellow named Geoff Marshall made a splendid site hosting a collection of just such remixed tube maps. All good clean fun ... until the lawyers for Transport for London send him a cease and desist letter explaining that the tube map is their trademark and they won't allow him to have it on his site, and that they'd sue him if he didn't remove it. Geoff's story is here. Since he wasn't in a mood to end up in court with these guys, he reluctantly removed the maps from his server, and instead posted a list of mirror sites that had a copy. After which the same lawyers bullied his ISP into forcing him to remove that list too, as he was "linking to copyrighted material", as if that was any kind of crime.

Now, this is really dumb of Transport of London. No reason to spoil the fun and make everybody hate you. Besides, you can't really stop something like that on the net. On the contrary, by threatening everybody you just turn it into a noble cause, which gets much more attention than it would otherwise. So, for example, I now put up a mirror of everything Geoff had on his site. There you go, go and enjoy the fun tube maps. I probably wouldn't have thought of doing that if it wasn't a hot issue like that. Now it is about cultural freedom.

More here on BoingBoing, which also has posted many remixed subway maps from around the world.


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10 comments

16 Mar 2006 @ 03:13 by bushman : lol
You know they just recently had a 2 hour TV show on PBS, all about the tube map, who was first payed to maintain it, some renowned artist, was the designer, but as far as I remember is that the trasportation guys payed him for it, like it was his job or something, but that he worked on it all the time, lol. I had never seen the tube map till it was on TV, but that it is part of Londons heritage, maybe it was some anneversary of the map, that was the reason it was on TV.  


17 Mar 2006 @ 08:46 by Lionel @193.252.190.142 : Project management
Hi, Flemming,

It's been a pleasure to brainstorm with Jeff Stars and you, yesterday. This guy is very open-minded. Your project? Definitely 'sexy'.

Congratulations - See you soon,

Lionel  



17 Mar 2006 @ 22:13 by taranga @80.168.173.122 : missing links
Thnks for this - i'm fed up with these petty minded 'officials' protecting 'their' copyright - how can a bit of fun cost them? it only increases global awareness of the tube system and is a form of free advertising.

BTW some the larger versions of the maps apear to have got lost!  



18 Mar 2006 @ 16:49 by ming : Maps
Ah, you're right, some of them were missing. I've located them and added them now.  


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