When Topology Trumped Topography: Celebrating 90 Years of Beck’s Underground Map

  title={When Topology Trumped Topography: Celebrating 90 Years of Beck’s Underground Map},
  author={Alexander J. Kent},
  journal={The Cartographic Journal},
  pages={1 - 12}
  • A. Kent
  • Published 2 January 2021
  • Art
  • The Cartographic Journal
The year 1931 saw the inception of what has become arguably the world’s most successful cartographic design. Henry C. Beck, a technical draughtsman who had been laid off by the Underground Electric Railways of London (UERL), devised a new diagrammatic map of the network (Figure 1) in his spare time. Beck’s radical approach favoured topology over topography – connectivity over geographical fidelity – which he achieved primarily by straightening out the lines and limiting changes in their… 

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