Urban Field Notes: Never Lost in London

A city of medieval streets has some of the world’s best wayfinding. From THE URBANIST Issue 536. 
August 2014. (Michael Alexander).


Transport for London (TfL) has created some of the best directional signposts of any city. Found every few blocks, they are handsome, double-sided, visually consistent and almost instantly informative pieces of street furniture that make walking a pleasure. They’re part of a wayfinding system called Legible London, which includes new street maps in Underground stations, web planning tools and, importantly, a constantly updated map database.

Legible London quickly answers the imperative wayfinding questions:

  • Where am I?
  • Where is my destination?
  • How long will my trip take?
  • And, for those exploring the city, what else of interest is nearby?

Legible London grew from a problem nearly every city faces: inconsistent, ineffective and confusing wayfinding signs. A survey found that the central zone alone had “at least 32 separate wayfinding systems for pedestrians,” and it’s no surprise that 80 percent of those surveyed found existing street signs confusing, uninformative and unpredictable due to issues like inconsistent destination names and differing information and design across the systems.

In 2005, then Mayor Ken Livingstone (who also brought congestion pricing to the city’s center) mandated that wayfinding be easier by the 2012 Olympics, and that London would be one of the world’s most walk-friendly cities by 2015. That meant helping the one in seven Londoners who couldn’t find their way around the city, as well as the one in four who worried about getting lost.

Read the complete article.

MTA and NYC DOT Introduce Uniform Neighborhood Maps

The following article is taken from a press release from the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). The maps featured are generated from the NYC Wayfinding system created by T-Kartor.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) have teamed to install new way-finding maps throughout the city, making it easier for subway customers to orient themselves and learn what a neighborhood has to offer as they step out of a subway station. This next generation of the subway system’s helpful neighborhood map is being installed in all 468 subway stations.

MTA subway map

The new maps use the same base map as DOT’s WalkNYC way-finding signage program, which provides detailed, location-specific maps and directional information to people navigating the city’s streets. However, they have been adapted to the subway with lighter base colors; subway lines and station footprints; and local, limited, and Select Bus Service (SBS) routes.

So far, DOT has employed the maps on its pedestrian way-finding signs, on Citi Bike kiosks, and at prototype installations of the new SBS totems, which provide real-time bus arrival information at SBS stations using MTA’s BusTime data feed. With the addition of these new neighborhood maps in the subway, there will be a standard way-finding map for pedestrians, transit riders, and cyclists alike for the first time in New York City history.

“This partnership with the MTA allows for consistent maps above and below ground, making it easier for users to reach their destinations,” said NYC DOT Commissioner and MTA Board Member Polly Trottenberg. “We’re excited to provide this resource to New Yorkers and tourists to find their way in the city.”

More from the press:
2nd Ave. Sagas
Transportation Nation

Registrations welcome for the T-Kartor annual user conference

T-Kartor user conference

It is now time to register for T-Kartor’s annual user conference at Åhus seaside hotel & conference facility on 8-10th September 2014.

We will be presenting news from Hexagon from the latest year and, as usual, providing tips and product demonstrations with interesting presentations from us and our clients. We guarantee a useful and enjoyable experience and (hopefully) some beautiful seaside weather.

To register, please send an email to Helene Kristiansson at hk@t-kartor.se

T-Kartor deliver mapping database and cartographic production in Birmingham

T-Kartor wayfinding totem production

Launched in 2012, Interconnect Birmingham is a scheme of pedestrian wayfinding and public transport information that was designed to improved the journey experience of residents and visitors in the city.
T-Kartor have recently finished a cartographic production run for this project where large quantity, rapid production was facilitated using our mapping database. The database was created around four map scales covering Birmingham city centre and was expanded to cover a wider area during the artworking phase. We also designed a series of automated production tools for street indexing and export purposes.
The cartographic production work involved updating all maps, indexes and graphic elements for the existing pedestrian scheme and delivering original artworks for 77 brand new totems for phase 2 of the system. Each side of a totem contains 2 heads-up maps at different scales and all units are double sided, in all we produced 408 maps and 204 indexes in a matter of weeks.
T-Kartor are now working on expanding the database coverage and updating the maps and indexes on the public transport part of the system.

NYC Wayfinding – Select Bus Service launch


The second major phase of the New York City wayfinding system (also called WalkNYC) has rolled out, locating totems with real-time bus information at SBS (Select Bus Service) stations along a new route of this bus rapid transit system.
Select Bus Service is New York City Transit’s new, innovative bus service designed to reduce travel time and increase the level of comfort for customers. The new B44 route running along Nostrand, Rogers and Bedford Avenues in Brooklyn was launched November 2013 and the route will serve 40,000 passengers each day. The improved passenger information provided by the wayfinding totems will be key to providing a user-friendly customer experience and is another step in the ambition to provide a fully joined-up wayfinding solution to pedestrians, cyclists and mass transit users in New York City.

The cartographic map production was lead by T-Kartor, together with a design team including wayfinding specialists CityID and industrial designers Billings Jackson. Graphic designers Pentagram and engineers and project managers RBA Group complete this team. The map production has been trialed at two stops during the fall 2013, with the rest of the route and two further routes (M34 in Midtown Manhattan and M60 out towards the New York LaGuardia airport) to be rolled out during 2014, with graphic artwork produced by T-Kartor.

T-Kartor to present at DGI 2014 (Defence Geospatial intelligence)


The DGI Conference brings together heads of geospatial intelligence, remote sensing, GIS data & mapping, satellite imagery and analysis within the military, governmental, and intelligence sectors. 

See link here.

In a talk entitled Realising Today’s Foundation GEOINT Requirements, John Fitzgerald, Business Development for T-Kartor, will present how we create maps and charts for U.S. defence and other NATO countries, utilising our CPS technology. 

John has worked for T-Kartor since leaving the army two years ago. A former British Army Officer, he has 30 years experience in all aspects of military geography including extensive involvement in operations, intelligence, ISR, systems, and international cooperation. John will be joined by Karen Thomas, former NGA senior as the Director for the Foundation GEOINT Group. Karen currently works for Harris Corporation as their Chief GIS Strategist.

T-Kartor speaks at Mapping Showcase 2013 and attends Mainstreaming Smarter Travel

Image: Tony Pearce presents at Mapping Showcase 2013

Image: T-Kartor’s stand at Mainstreaming Smarter Travel (courtesy of Landor Links)

T-Kartor’s City Wayfinding and Transport team have had a busy period on the events circuit of late. During November we gave a talk at the Mapping Showcase event in London – Business Development Manager Tony Pearce spoke to a full house about the benefits of the Legible London mapping database and how it has helped to facilitate modal shift in parallel with TfL’s information strategies. The free event was very well patronised and it was just as well we had three people manning our stand as the flow of attendees was almost continuous.

Then, in early December we headed to the magnificent Manchester Town Hall for the Mainstreaming Smarter Travel event which was attended by over 400 delegates. The conference and exhibition focussed on LSTF and what could be delivered by utilising funding streams for smarter travel. The event included discussions on mapping and information as well as providing ample opportunity to discuss projects and network with those attending including some of our existing customers.