Benedikt Groß profile image

Works antidisciplinarily, is a speculative and a computational designer.
He currently lives in 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 very often not longer based exclusively on the actual geography and their landmarks. There are loads of alternatives, from street numbers to GPS routing in our smartphones, to guide us to a destination. All of those wayfinding devices have in common that they are abstracted projections of the real world’s spatial arrangement. Which brings us to two interesting implications: First, because abstraction means in this case a decrease of information, something is lost. And second, the longer you are using a device the more you accept it or get used to it. For instance the geographical structure of transportation networks are often reshaped to provide users with more understandable transit maps. These distortions have a major influence on people’s perception of a city’s geography, to the point they get stored mentally and become 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 x 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.