Creating the UCL hand drawn map of London.

So it’s been about 2 months since we created the map and now seems an appropriate time to tell its story. Like all good projects, the idea came up in conversation and quickly got put into motion. With the generous support of CASA’s Andy Hudson-Smith the two canvases where purchased and all of a sudden the project was in motion.

With the help of Ian Morton (@visualmetro) it was decided to start the project off with the outline of London and also the river Thames sketched onto the canvas. The reason behind this being to create a framework and point of reference in which to guide the early contributors. At this time we also chose the rough locations to showcase the canvas for contributions and also the time frame.

Over the period of the week Ian and I spent about 15 hours collecting contributions to the map around the UCL campus, assisting contributors with words of advice as to locations and also chatting about the ideas that many of the contributors held about space in London. Many stories emerged including an interesting invitation to a 4am gathering on Hampstead Heath on the 1st of May each year.

All in all there where over 270 contributions to the map (based upon the number of signatures around the map) and a vast number of associated stories. As far as content was concerned the coverage around the central London region was very high though not always accurate (often due to congestion or prior spatial inconsistencies). Adding to the content about London was the interest by international student keen to add direction arrows to home countries or cities in some cases including graphic representations or exact(ish) distances.

The final product is displayed in the CASA offices and an online version is available at allowing full pan and zoom navigation of the map.

As always Ian and I would love to do another example of this map but possibly on a far larger scale. If anyone is interested in this please feel free to get in contact.

Original write up by Mapping London:
Write up by the Londonist:
Write up by Direction Mag:
Podcast discussion of the map by CASA’s GlobalLab:

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