Tuesday 12 November 2013

An Infestation of Spiders [Part 2]

How to Draw a Spider.
Sadly we are not drawing one of those, but a replacement for a Transport for London "spider" map for South End Green. This is a very small and illegible version of the TfL offering; too reduced to reveal any detail, but adequate to understand the task ahead of us.
Our adviser is Diana Aggram, retired cartographer, who dislikes both both the hairy and the cartographic arachnid manifestations. Her words of advice and encouragement are shown in blue.

When Harry Beck designed the iconic Underground diagram, he needed an "anchor" round which to develop his ideas.  He chose the Central Line (red) which would run horizontally across the page.
Our "anchor" is the Northern Line beween Euston and Golders Geen. So we draw that first.

Please note that Miss Aggram used Lakeland coloured pencils and a sheet of A4 paper; but, for blogging purposes, fbb has redrawn using a very simple vector graphics program on his (t)rusty old confuser.
Two bus routes follow that 45 degree slope for a while so we can add them.

Di is using a number of other bits of cartography for reference; a good quality large scale London street map and TfL's area maps of which there are five. She is using the North West and the Central "quadrant" maps. But fbb is sure that the most important piece of supporting equipment is her "brain". She lives at Hampstead. She knows where and why the buses run!

The two routes are the 24 (Hampstead Heath to Pimlico) with those ugly new buses ...
... and the 168 (Hampstead Heath to Old Kent Road).
They both aim for the Euston area then turn due south.
There are three other services to fit in but as these run across the "main lines", thy are not too difficult to draw.
Especially if you know what's going on. But, asks fbb, "What's that purple one? It doesn't serve South End Green? Neither does your black Northern line line. There's no Underground at South End Green."
Well done; quite correct; but look at his map! (Yes, Di! fbb obediently looked and remembered.) Hampstead Heath Station (Overground) is at the top with South End Green just below.The huge block (centre) is the Royal Free Hospital. The (purple) 268 runs along Haverstock Hill stopping at the end of Rowland Hill Street for the Hospital.
Rowland Hill Street to the left

Belsize Park station

And it's not that far to walk back from Belsize Park if you're coming by Northern Line. TfL is not completely stupid. There is a sign to the station at the end of Pond Street ...
... although I'm not sure many people notice it.

fbb wonders, in passing, whether there is a sign to the Hospital at Belsize Park station? No doubt some knowledgeable blog commentator will know.

fbb's questioning continues. "TfL has added railway lines to its spider maps. Even I know that they are a mess. What would you do?"
It's not as difficult as TfL has made it; but then they have used outside contractors and a computer system; so there alway was a good chance of c*** results. But have another cuppa and one of my rock cakes and we'll have a go.

fbb is agog!
 Belsize Park (opened 1907)
Hampstead Railway, later the Northern Line

Hampstead Heath (opened 1860)
London and North Western Railway, now Overground

What is becoming obvious, however, is that the official map is a poor attempt. Some would argue that a diagram is just that; geography is unimportant. Certainly Harry Beck's Underground map and its successors play fast and loose with on-street accuracy.
Queensway to Bayswater; change at Notting Hill Gate OR walk about 400 yards down the road from Bayswater (canopy, right) to Queensway (trees in the distance)?
Going via Notting Hill Gate is very much a long way round.
Notting Hill Gate bottom left
Bayswater top right
Queensway bottom right

So does the TfL/Kartor collection of convoluted squiggles matter? It does matter if it misleads people, for example, by suggesting that the Northern Line is an indirect route from Belsize Park to Waterloo; when, in fact, it is the obvious and quickest way!

There's a link to the full-size official map via yesterday's blog (read again).
It's All Available On-line
A whole week ago (Monday 4th November, to be exact) fbb shot off two enquiring emails. One was to ...
... requesting the price of a single fare from Bristol to Cribbs Causeway.

The other was to First ...
... requesting a copy of the "new" Yeovil timetable book.

Guess who has replied?

Neither of them!
 Next cartographic blog : Wednesday 13th November 

1 comment:

  1. The lack of common courtesy shown by some bus operators to such enquiries by post and email never ceases to amaze me,

    Apart from a couple who operate within travelling distance and I know will respond to emails I write and enclose an SAE. The enquiry is usually because I am visiting, or have just visited an area and could get nothing 'on the ground' (always explained). On average six letters sent out twice a year depending on where we are going and when, and one or two of each batch will not get a reply.

    On the most recent occasion one company, NAT, wrote explaining that their network covered a much wider area than the two towns I was visiting, suggested I checked their website and they would then post me the specific timetables I wanted - which they did (and the subsequent emails were very polite etc). By comparison nothing from Phil Anslow whose three timetables, whilst on the web, do not print off 'to the page' . (I look forward to the fbb promised report on Brecon!!!!). This is just one example.

    It isn't that difficult or costly to put a leaflet or two into an envelope - particularly when one is supplied. So just what is their problem?

    I sometimes think that the managers feel that all such timetable enquiries must come from bus enthusiasts and they can therefore simply ignore them!!!

    Please don't try and tell me its the cost. I currently work for a small/medium sized operator and know the enquiries we get.