The story of the official London Underground map is well-documented but step into any bookshop in Germany, Italy, Spain or Japan and look at the London tourist guides. There is a good chance that the designs at the backs of the books won’t be the official ones that you are familiar with.
Ever since Beck’s first diagram in 1933 others have modified or reworked the official map for their own purposes. Today, mass tourism fuels the demand for alternatives in guide books and computers give the tools to meet it. They are pursued by Transport for London as potential copyright violations and, with little archiving, their history is a challenge to research. With maps ranging from the derivative to the dumbfounding, issues of copyright and intellectual property are examined: at what point does plagiarism cease and creativity commence?