This stunning map reveals the athletic footprint of London. Strava have taken their huge volume of movement data, recorded by runners, cyclists and other data-enabled fitness peeps and created a heatmap of London (and indeed, the world).
Many people use Strava to record their cycle to work, whereas running to work is much rarer, and recreational running is much more likely so, in order to see an alternative, largely non-commuting flow map of London, we have here featured the running data. A street network is still seen, but the brightest lines are no longer the big road arteries of London – instead it is the park roads, athletics tracks, canal towpaths and the Thames footpaths. It shows a London reordered towards two feet rather than four (or two) wheels. The extract at top, centred over the London’s central area, shows four parks in each corner – Regent’s Park, Victoria Park, Greenwich Park and Battersea Park, as hotspots of activity, along with both sides of the Thames, the Regent’s Canal towpath, and Hyde Park. Two blurred areas – at Canary Wharf and the eastern part of the City of London – are likely a combination of a large number of runners and the GPS multipath-interference effect of the very tall, close together buildings in these areas.
Looking more closely at certain areas, you can start to see the thousands of individual traces in each area, along with local “obstacles”:
We featured an earlier version of the map in 2013, back then it only include a month’s worth of data, whereas this latest map includes all the data up to September 2017 (except that marked as private, in user privacy zones or from opted out users) representing a billion plus seperate runs and cycles across the planet, and so likely well over a million in London. We also featured the Nike Plus app map which is a similar idea but with much less data. The unique thing about the latest Strava Labs heatmap is the volume of data, which, combined with some nice digital cartographical techniques, produces a comprehensive and impressively detailed map of London. The Strava blog entry details some of these techniques, which include auto-shifting routes from some mobile devices which tend to otherwise snap them to the nearest road centreline – which would not be ideal for a heatmap effect.
Strava has created a product, Strava Metro, to sell the underlying data to local councils and other bodies interested in getting good, detailed information on how pedestrians and cyclists use the existing street networks, and where they want to go, with a view to well targeted spending on new infrastructure. The Strava Labs visualisations like this, are a great way to reveal the quantity and detail of such information – a picture certainly says a thousands words here.
Tranquil Pavement is an online map recently launched by the Tranquil City project based in London, in association with the Outlandish Cooperative and funded by Organicity. It aims to highlight tranquil places to visit, if the hustle and bustle of city life gets too much, by plotting “crowdsourced “locations – referenced in an Instagram feed – as green circles, and also shows a general overlay map shade of calmness (or otherwise) across the capital. The latter is shown by a white (higher noise/pollution) to green (lower noise/pollution), gradient based on “official” data – from DEFRA and the GLA. A different shade of green, showing park footprints, is underlaid to further emphasise likely tranquil locations. The background map makes a point of naming, and so highlighting, only smaller roads, rather than larger noisy artery roads, and also showing some water features, including, unusually, underground rivers such as the River Fleet.
The overall map – tending to green in more suburban outer London, but with green highlights for specific tranquil locations more likely to be in the inner city, results in a rather pleasing to look at – although perhaps grey black would be an even better colour for pollution/noise – representing the murk of an untranquil location.
Explore the live map here, or add the #tranquilcitylondon tag to your geotagged photos of London’s peaceful places, on Instagram.
The Chiswick Timeline, a mural of maps showing the history of the pleasant west London neighbourhood, was successfully crowdfunded and launched last month. It appears alongside a road as it passes underneath a railway bridge by Turnham Green station. A commemorative book, reproducing the work, is available to buy online or at Foster’s Bookshop on Chiswick’s high street.
At Mapping London, we love the idea of a community getting together to brighten up a drab wall in their area, particularly when the artwork commissioned is a map! In this case, it is many maps – even better. The mural features 16 different maps, 8 on each side of the road, from 1593 (Norden’s map of Middlesex) right up to the latest 2018 Legible London map of the area (those attractive pedestrian maps you see on totem poles throughout the inner London, and now extending further out). We feature three of these maps here – at the top is a map by William Knight from 1700 of “Towns, Villages, Gentlemen’s Houses for 20 Miles round London”, it shows that Turn(h)am Green has been around for far longer than the tube station which bears its name.
Above is a land-use map drawn by Milne a hundred years later, in 1800. This is a historic “data” map, the colours depicting different land types. Showing choropleths and indeed simply using colour at all on a map was pretty ground-breaking 200+ years ago. The many market gardens around Chiswick are coloured in blue, with orchards in green. Finally, below is the 1949 Ordnance Survey “6 inch to the mile” map, with just the River Thames coloured in, which shows that Chiswick never got fully urbanised – the open lands to the south of the earlier maps have simply become (and are still) sports fields.
To create the work, much research was needed at the London Metropolitan Archive and Chiswick Library, amongst other places, and to ensure that the mural stays in good condition, and the maps remain colourful and durable for as long as possible, the panels were created using vitreous enamelling, the same process that creates many of the high quality roundels and other signs in London Underground stations.
The great thing about this concept, is it can likely be applied to any bridge abutment that needs livening up, in any part of London. The city has a huge abundance of old maps, and a great many railway bridges too.
If Lumiere London, which finished yesterday, has whet your appetite for seeing artistic displays of light after dark, then there is another festival of lights which runs until Saturday. It’s at Canary Wharf and called Winter Lights. Think Lumiere London, in a smaller area and without the huge crowds.
And, like the King’s Cross, it’s produced its own special map for the event, which we feature above. Outdoor exhibits are indicated as magenta circles, and indoor ones are shown as white circles. It doesn’t quite have the glowing-lights-at-night feel of the Lumiere maps, but it’s clear and easy to read, and shows the area’s water-dominant geography well. Canary Wharf is a reasonably compact site, so you should be able to see many of the lights quickly – and Canary Wharf itself at night is quite impressive, even without the extra lighting.
King’s Cross is one of the six Lumiere London areas, where light-based artworks are on display every evening until Sunday. We looked at the general maps of the event yesterday, but we discovered also that King’s Cross has its own map, showing where the exhibits are. You don’t have to follow the marked route, although it does take you past all the key exhibits, and, with the expected large crowds, you may find it makes sense to follow this path of least resistance!
Mapping London likes this attractive, clear map that is using a nice “nighttime” black, pastel pink and maroon colour scheme, bright colours for the routes and attractions, and nice labelling for the new streets. The area is rapidly evolving with different areas constantly opening up to the public. Current construction zones are shown as areas of dots. The canal is shown with watery waves, and green areas are a lighter pink shade. The overall effect is rather nice.
Paper copies of this map are being handed out at the entrances to the area each evening. People who get one, and visit four places marked on the map (including a colourfully lit night market), can get their map stamped at each, and then and get free candyfloss or a glow band.
Waterlicht (No. 5 on the map) is the undoubted highlight – lasers and dry ice across the huge Granary Square. See pic below for the general effect, it is one to definitely experience for yourself, it fills the whole square and has the crowds underneath it in awe. It reminds me of the Weather Project at the Tate Modern back in 2003. If you are looking for No. 7, look up high! It’s a screen suspended from a crane, which is appropriate enough, as it’s showing animation about cranes.
Lumiere London is happening again tonight, and on Saturday and Sunday, from 5:30pm to 10pm.
The Lumiere London, a free show of more than 50 light-based artworks, scattered throughout central London, starts today and the lights are switched on for the next four evenings, until Sunday 21st. It’s the second running of the event, after the inaugural in January 2016 which led to huge crowds of onlookers on the streets (over a million in total). This year, many more central London roads are closed to traffic, which may make things easier for moving around on foot.
This year’s event is based on six zones, and there is a simple map (above) showing the zones, and maps for each of these zones (two of these are below). There is also a more detailed map (excerpt at bottom) that you can buy for download, and a free app, which is also useful for navigating between the works. In fact, the website map, the pay-to-download map excerpt and the map in the app are all slightly different! Probably easiest just head to the giant ball above Oxford Circus and then follow the crowds.
We like the stylized zone maps, they have an appropriately night-time/glowing theme, and should be quite useful to navigate with – or else just follow the lights and look up!
London Lumiere is promoted by Visit London and organised by Artichoke.
Dry January? You might want to look away. From the industry’s official promoter of the fortified Andalusian wine in the UK, comes this map of tapas bars and restaurants in central London where you can be sure of finding a good glass of sherry. The map was published in October last year but we just spotted it now, and we like it!
The map was created by illustrator Andy Smith. There’s lots of nice details in it – for example, the “Sherry Ferry” that appears in the Thames, heading towards Canary Wharf, is a reference to a ferry that used to go between two of the Camino bars in London. The plate of Mojama tuna is a nod to the animal that is, like sherry, local to Cadiz. Some tube station roundels and the River Thames appear – two musts with any London map – and the venues themselves are illustrated with numbered circles. A sprinkling of London landmarks are interspersed with names and logos of the bars/restaurants concerned, and various tapas-style snacks.
N.B. Be careful if using this as a map to navigate by. The designer has gone beyond the usual bounds of simplifying detail and removing non-key roads, by connecting Farringdon Road and Borough High Street together across an unnamed bridge across the Thames. The former actually goes to Blackfriars Bridge and the latter to London Bridge, which are separated by several other bridges. This will be especially confusing if using the map to navigate after having tried several sherries. Use the London Sherry Trail map to find your venues, then your smartphone mapping platform of choice to work out how to actually get there!
You may be able to pick up a paper copy of the map from the venues themeselves (although many may have run out of stock by now), alternatively you can download a PDF version from here or email sherry (at) bespokedrinksmedia.com and they, stock pending, may be able to send you one. The map will get updated later this year as new sherry-drinking venues appear in town.
Spotted online, and thanks to additional information supplied by Bespoke Drinks Media.
The Children’s Map of London (sometimes called the Children’s Pictorial Map of London) was drawn by Leslie Bullock and first published by Bartholomew in 1938, the edition here is I believe the original version. All royalties from the sale of the map went to the Hospital for Sick Children in Great Ormond Street (aka GOSH) which appropriately does itself appear on the map. The decorative style brings to mind an older time – perhaps the 1920s, when decorative maps were popular and the Beck tube map had not yet appeared – or perhaps even a map from the 1800s. Despite this, it was likely a good map to navigate by, as it includes most of the street network, and doesn’t distort the geography. A lot has changed of course, since the 1930s – Euston station, for instance, looks a lot grander on the map, as this was before it was pulled down and replaced with a giant shed in the 1960s. It looks more grand than St Pancras even, on this map!
University College also gets a nice drawing in, above. We liked also the appearance of the “Cheshire Cheese” on Fleet Street. A pub these days, and back then too, so a slightly curious choice for a map aimed at children, even if it is very historic:
It’s a shame also the Zoo doesn’t make it in – the map stops just south of it, but does at least include a note “To the Zoo”. Hamleys doesn’t appear either – another institution that was certainly going strong at the time of this map.
The cartography is clear and crisp, with a good balance of style and function. A yellow/red/blue colour scheme is adopted for all buildings and stations, so that the map is not overloaded with colour. It’s a lovely map to have – to navigate or to have as a wall picture. It’s a shame that it was not kept updated to the present day.
The best online copy of the map that I have found, and excerpted here, is at Copernicus (see link for a larger, zoomable version).
Paragraph for date nerds only: The above webpage there states it is from 1955, however it refers to Farringdon & High Holborn station which was renamed just “Farringdon” 1936 (but was likely known by its old name for a few more years), and also refers to the London Passenger Transport Board (at 55 Broadway, aka London Underground HQ these days) which only existed from 1933 to 1948. Friar Street, in Southwark, appears on the map, but it was renamed Webber Street in late 1938. Nearby Gravel Lane was renamed Great Suffolk Street in 1935! So if it is a 1955 edition, the update was rather incomplete. More likely, I think this is the 1938 original, and might actually date from the mid rather than late 1930s. Various other online references mention 1930, 1935, 1948, 1950 and 1960. This version has a few additional labels – Bloomsbury, Seven Dials, Bunhill Fields, Shoreditch – and also mentions 1955. The author published a book containing a copy of the map, and other maps, between 1948 and 1960, so it is likely this is where the later date and edition comes from.
This hand-sketched map has been produced by Adam Dant and Herb Lester, for the East End Trades Guild, to promote over 200 small businesses based in east and north-east London. Over a hundred of these are independent shops, cafes and restaurants to visit.
The map is presented with an unusual projection, focusing on Columbia Road near the bottom of the map (with the greatest concentration of featured businesses) with the rest of the area curving away as you look towards the top. Some places beyond the bounds of the map are included as little adornments attached to the map, which is in the style of a pinboard. Cardboard cutout-style illustrations show some businesses at work, while parks, tube stations and water features also show. The built up fabric between the road network is nicely illustrated with a striped hatching effect:
The cartography is really rather lovely, and a million miles away from the ubiquitous Google Maps map with icon pins – it has its place, is accessible and is certainly an “easy” option, but putting points on a standard Google Maps map does not make a “map”. Designing a custom map like this, specifically focused on the structure of the area, gives the subject matter the framing it deserves. Kudos to the guild for commissioning a proper map like this.
Here’s the full map in all its glory, click on it to view a larger version (you may need to click again if your browser initially resizes the image):
It’s December! So Christmas is not far away, and so here’s a nice map which takes that always popular London map – the tube map – focuses on the inner city section, coverts the lines to coloured tissue paper, and hangs baubles on many of the stations, detailing a nearby Christmas-related attraction, be it a Christmas market, and ice rink, panto or other seasonal event. There’s 100 altogether. It’s more useful for ideas than navigation, although it will at least get you to the nearest tube station. Watch out – a couple of stations are on the wrong side of the River Thames though! To its credit, the London Overground gets a look in (all the interesting new stuff in London is happening near the Orange Line isn’t it?)
The poor tube map gets reused for all sorts of different kinds of things (including a similar 2016 Christmas map) but the colours and lines are such an important identity for how London works, that it’s a natural way to present geographic information like this. And while an official Christmas-edition tube map would be amazing, this is certainly the next best thing.
Here’s the full version, with captions and station/distance information in the section below, click for a larger image:
The map was commissioned by Clarendon and created by Digitaloft.
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