Fancy a tube map with a difference? How about one made from a circuit board – with lights that show live train movements?
I can hear the geeky squeals of delight already.
A clever fusion of modern computer API data to provide the tube movements and traditional circuit board design come together in the TrainTrackr.
The board shows all twelve of the main underground lines: Bakerloo, Central, Circle, District, DLR, Hammersmith & City, Jubilee, Metropolitan, Northern, Piccadilly, Victoria, Waterloo & City, and has 333 station points lit with LEDs.
The circuit board tube map requires a Wi-Fi connection and then pulls down live tube data from TfL’s open data API to make it come alive.
Two versions are available.
A smaller 20cm x 15cm model with all white lights. Or the larger 40cm x 30cm version which used coloured lights for each line – except the Northern, which sticks with white lamps.
You can buy the TrainTrackr from here.
Although it’s designed to work with TrainTrackr’s own servers, you can reprogramme the chip if you want, and they provide some details for people who can do that sort of thing.
Personally I prefer the white version, not least because the chips controlling it are visible and that raw hardware adds to the design aesthetic of the circuit board.
Incidentally, the story that Harry Beck based his original map design on the electronic circuit board is a myth. There is indeed a Beck style circuit board design tube map in the archives, but it was apparently a joke that was presented to him long after the tube map had been adopted by London Transport.
Hat tip to MappingLondon.