Missing travelling on the London Underground? Now, you can see the trains running, live, on this custom-made circuit board showing thetube network. An array of lights, one for each tube and DLR station, uses open data from Transport for London to show the approximate positions of the full fleet of trains running along the various lines. As trains enter stations, the corresponding LED will light up. So, at a glance, you can see if the Piccadilly Line is down again.
There are two versions – a smaller one uses white LEDs for the train positions, while a forthcoming expanded one uses colour LEDs corresponding to trains on the line concerned (the Northern line uses white LEDs, in case you were wondering). The currently available smaller board is still pretty big – 20x15cm – and would make a great bit of electronic wall art for your data-driven apartment. Simply attach a plugged in USB key to provide power.
TrainTrackr arose out of the Cambridge Hackspace in the Greater Boston area in the USA. It’s great seeing a small startup taking a concept and making it a physical product – and even better if it involves a map of the iconic London Underground.
It’s not the first tube map to appear on a circuit board. An artist produced a one-off tube map circuit board which was a working radio, a few years back. And the original tube map itself, with its 45-degree angles and straight lines, was directly inspired by circuit diagrams (Harry Beck’s 1930s original prototype directly referencing them). Almost all the official ones since then, including the current one, are derivatives of the Beck original.
TrainTrackr was created by a friend-of-a-friend.