Up until recently, the London Underground was difficult to navigate because of its beautifully-drawn yet horribly inaccurate map. But there’s a new map in town — actually, the London Underground’s been using a more accurate map for a while now and just not sharing it.
The designer Harry Beck created London’s minimal (and very inaccurate) map 82 years ago, and for designers it was revolutionary because of its use of simple colour-coding and diagrammatic simplicity. But Beck’s tube diagram was also incredibly confusing for users — a study once measured that up to 30 per cent of the transit’s travellers got lost.
The newer Geographical London Connections map is still a pretty attractive graphic to look at, but it’s also accurate. Travellers have James Burbage to thank for bringing it to light; Burbage made a Freedom of Information Request asking that the London Underground supply more accurate maps last year. It’s not totally clear from his letter whether or not he knew about the existence of more accurate maps, but a whole lot of people are really glad he asked.