Benedikt Groß profile image

Works antidisciplinarily, is a speculative and a computational designer.
He currently lives in Ravensburg / Stuttgart.

Metrography – London Tube Map to large scale collective mental map

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Concept + Idea: Benedikt Groß & Bertrand Clerc
Tutor: Noam Toran
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.

Metrography – Print

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

Inner city area

River around Canary Wharf

Metrography – Web Applet

Interactive version of the print, open in fullscreen

Real Geography of London’s Underground Network

Reshaped Structure According to the London Tube Map

Geography vs London Tube Map

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. In the image above this process is demonstrated, you can see the mapping of the river thames, victoria line and stations.

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.


Metrography is an outcome of my Design Interactions master, the work is exhibited in the Work-In-Progress Show (1.2.2012 – 6.2.2012) at the Royal College of Art, London.