25

Over the past several years London has deployed a program of wayfinding maps and resources, most strikingly in the form of a forest of (stunning) enameled steel "monoliths":

enter image description here

These, and the other materials in the program, use a base map that's one of the best designed and most comprehensive (and most beautiful) walking city maps I've seen:

enter image description here

An old version of a part of this map is available online as a detailed PDF, but I can't find an updated or more complete version anywhere.

Is there an online resource, app, or downloadable version of the complete uptodate TfL Legible London map available that I could take with me on my travels?

  • @GayotFow: Ideally either: (a) up to the current limit of the program's deployment or (b) up to the current extent of the existing base map created so far (which I know must extend in some form all the way to Stratford for example). – orome Apr 23 '17 at 14:36
  • @GayotFow: I wonder if they'd be interested in creating some additional products for consumers and travelers. The maps, or sections of them, would make great posters and would be the foundation of the ultimate London walking app. All the alternatives I'm aware of — Google, Open Streets, A-Z, etc. — don't even come close. All fail as walking maps in some significant way (e.g., what other map distinguishes Zebras from other type sof pedestrian crossings, or shows steps?!) – orome Apr 23 '17 at 16:07
  • @GayotFow: Of course, their contract with the GLA may not allow that (and I suspect the online availably of the earlier incomplete base map as a high-res PDF is unintentional). – orome Apr 23 '17 at 16:07
  • @GayotFow: I'll delete mine later after some answers appear. Leaving them now to warn people away from suggesting any other maps that don't meet the high standards of the LL map. – orome Apr 23 '17 at 16:39
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    What is it that interests you about the map so much? How would it be better than using a navigation app on your phone, for real life purposes? Perhaps another map exists that's just as good? – JonathanReez Apr 25 '17 at 7:15
9

A FOI request filed a few years back to obtain electronic copies of the printed maps derived from the Legible London base map failed:

The maps are produced from the Legible London base map. This is a collection of specific digitised and re-drawn map layers that sit over Ordnance Survey and UK Map data, mapping layers to form the unique Legible London map. TfL’s production of Legible London maps is governed by our legal and commercial agreements with these map suppliers. This ensures that Ordnance Survey, UK Map (as well as other companies whose data resides in Legible London maps) and TfL’s mapping and data is not mis-used or reproduced without the payment of appropriate royalties. This process also protects TfL’s intellectual property rights.

The panel acknowledges the public interest factors in favour of disclosure as outlined above, but considers that these are outweighed by the legitimate commercial interests of Ordnance Survey, UK Maps and Point X. Furthermore, disclosure of the map data in contravention of the terms of the licence would be likely to result in extra financial liability for TfL and could even result in the Legible London maps having to be withdrawn from use. In view of this, the panel felt that the balance of the public interest favours the use of this exception.

So unless TfL signs a new licensing agreement with the companies that produce the Legible London maps, it's unlikely that any of them would become officially available.

3

The maps you see in the monoliths are enamel and it's doubtful they persist in paper form (i.e., other than a by-product) at any point in the manufacturing process.

For reference purposes, the maps under discussion here look like this...

enter image description here

I wrote to the contractor enquiring about the possibility of acquiring PDF versions, this is their (redacted) response...

enter image description here

The relevant portions are...

...We do indeed manufacture the Legible London totems, including the printing of the maps ... we therefore cannot sell the maps to others...

These maps are not available in the retail markets. However, this may change where smaller portions of the maps are offered as fold-out brochures. I will update this answer when that happens.

enter image description here

Regarding the 'complete base map'... Although not 'Legible London', I have actually watched the TfL design team change the tube map. Indeed this 'base map' is a huge PDF file and they apply the changes using Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Illustrator. It's then shipped off to their printing shop with some written specifications. Seeing that TfL has embedded skill sets for doing this, it's likely that they use the same technique for 'Legible London' and that contracted products are provided to them in PDF format. But again these are controlled assets and not (as yet) available in the retail market.


TfL = Transport for London. As mentioned in comments, TfL is a company incorporated under the Companies Act 2006 and hence their products are not generally public domain.

  • 1
    This is a fine example of the distinction between government logic in Europe vs. the US. In America nearly all work done by public officials is in the public domain, while in the UK the state is extremely protective of Crown Copyright. – JonathanReez Apr 24 '17 at 16:29
  • From T-Kartor the company that maintains the base map (which evidently does exist) and builds all of the product maps: "I can confirm that we are maintaining a seamless basemap in several scales covering all of London appr 1.600 sqkm in almost finishing quality. It's a bit alarming that people doubt that we can do this and I don't know where you've picked up that information." – orome May 12 '17 at 17:08
  • @raxacoricofallapatorius Indeed, I am aware that these maps (in subscribed locales) are offered in the retail market at the end of this month. I've reserved copies. Thanks for the tip on a great map resource! – Gayot Fow May 12 '17 at 17:57
  • How is your answer (any part of it) relevant or accurate? – orome May 12 '17 at 18:35
  • @raxacoricofallapatorius if you can point out the inaccuracies, I will correct them or if the inaccuracies are too severe I will delete this answer. Not a problem – Gayot Fow May 12 '17 at 19:31

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