Mapnificent shows you areas you can reach with public transport in a given time. It’s clever, useful & easy to use. Oh yeah, and so sold on Bethnal Green – again.
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Mapumental is an interactive tool that allows you to browse London’s locations according to their commuting times and property prices. Want to leave in north London but work somewhere central? Want to know how much time will it take to get to work and for your kids to get to school? You can also browse the city by how scenic locations are while keeping your price and commuting preferences. This looks like a really useful tool when looking to buy or rent a place. Mapumental is unfortunately still in beta, but you can sign up for invites at the site. (Thanks, Ben!)
CycleStreets is a UK-wide cycle journey planner system, which lets you plan cycling routes around from start to finish. It is designed by cyclists, for cyclists, and caters for the needs of less both confident and less confident cyclists.
Ask it for a route, by entering two postcodes or addresses, or clicking two points on the map, and it will think for a while and then deliver three sets of results in tabs: a ‘fastest’ route, a ‘quietest’ route and a ‘shortest’ route.
The service is still in beta and is hungry for recommendations, edits and input from fellow cyclist, so if you want to make the 2 wheels good, 4 wheels bad revolution happen a bit more, help them out.
Ever wondered why the London tube map makes no geographical sense? I’ve heard so many stories about people trying to navigate London by using the tube map and being completely confused by the stations’ locations and the distances between them. Many tourists try to do this, as the tube map is probably the best distributed map in the UK and is and obtainable free of charge. The current map, or rather diagram, was first designed by Harry Beck in 1931. The diagram was not intended to be a geographical, but rather a topological relection of the underground network. Beck thought that the locations of the stations were not as importatnt as the relations between them on the map and decided to create a diagram that would allow the maximum clarity of the points of interchange and the borders of the city’s travelling zones. Thus, the diagram consists only of lines that run horizontally, vertically or at 45 degrees. The topological approach to metro systems has been used in many cities around the world and whether for the purposes of its clarity or tradition, it’s probably here to stay.
What you see above is one of the unofficial geographical London underground maps that can be found online. If you want to see one up-close, there is a project to create the real tube map by Simon Clarke that reflects the distances and routes between the stations of the London underground. I really like that by looking at the unofficial maps you can tell where the actual stations are, but I can’t deny that I do have some sentiment for the old diagram. The mapmania created mostly by Google maps has become somewhat overwhelming. You can now see 3D street shots , highly accurate land shots both on computers and Internet enabled phones or even navigate the city by your mood as in the I Feel London project by Andy Whitlock.
Soundmap offers a series of downloadable guided walks through London. This seems like an ideal way to substitute the pre-booked walks that involve dealing with groups of strangers and various inconveniences of having to deal with listening to and following a single speaker. Instead, you purchase the chosen walk, stick it on your iPod and off you go. What’s more, you can control your tour according to your own liking and listen to extras such as interviews, music and stories about people and places on your routes. The narratars include local writers and artists, so you get a fair chance of getting a good mix of history and the local curiosities. So far you can do the Brick Lane area, Soho, King’s Road, Brixton and Camden Town, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s more on its way.
Beyond my own curiosity about the various areas I keep thinking this will be an ideal thing to stick on my occasionally visiting friends’ iPods before I let them face the perils of London.