Tube Map is given some backbone

Iconic Tube Map transformed to show how the University fibre-optic network 'travels' around the city.


The iconic Transport for London Tube Map has been given the Cambridge treatment to show how far the University’s fibre-optic network stretches.

With a nod to classic re-interpretations of the map, like artist Simon Patterson’s The Great Bear, the University Information Services (UIS) transformed it to show the extent of its Granta Backbone Network (GBN).

Jon Holgate, Head of Networks for UIS, said: “The University of Cambridge has a world-class, city-wide fibre-optic network, stretching more than 45 kilometres and linking two hundred Collegiate institutions. We created the ‘underground map’ to show the extent of the service that we provide, and hope that it offers an interesting and informative presentation.”

Like Patterson’s artwork, which replaces London’s stations and lines with the names of saints, artists and stars of TV and film, the GBN stylised map exchanges the names of routes and stops with Cambridge-themed titles like Bumps and Bruises, The Turing Loop, and Book Line & Thinker.

A version of the map is available through the following link:

The Granta Backbone Network (GBN) is a network of underground ducts and cables providing the communications infrastructure for the University, Colleges and affiliated institutions.

The original project, completed in 1992, involved the excavation of some 30 km of trenching linking 80 University and Colleges sites, stretching from Girton College in the north-west of Cambridge, through the central and western parts of the city, to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in the south-east.

Since then a further 15 kilometres of duct has been added to the network, and each year the network keeps on expanding. Future projects plan to expand the network out to the boathouses, along with the expansion into North-West Cambridge.

For more information on the GBN and for a PDF of the map visit:

Reproduced courtesy of the University of Cambridge

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