There was a time when visitors to London would carry an A to Z map to navigate the city’s Undergound railway system, referring to the iconic London Transport map printed on its back as they did so. Now it’s likely they’ll do the same with their smartphones, with apps ranging from simple analogues of the printed version through to fully annotated route planners with up to the minute train information. Is this a new technology, something only possible in the last decade? Serial British rail YouTuber [Geoff Marshall] thinks otherwise, and has programmed a Tube map on a vintage BBC Micro.

We don’t expect anyone to heft a pile of vintage hardware onto the Central Line at rush hour even though in reality he’s running it on an emulator due to his real BBC Micro being kaput. Perhaps someone should drop him a line about capacitor replacement in that power supply. But it does provide an entertaining jaunt back into afternoons in a 1980s school computer lab, with MOVE, DRAW, and PLOT commands as he wrestles with the limited colour palette of MODE 2.  The result only covers Tube Zone 1, or the very centre of London, so to visit London Hackspace you’ll have to remember to take the Bakerloo line northbound out to Zone 4 and disembark at Wembley Central.

Happily as you can see in the video below the break he enlists the help of a friend to run it on real hardware. He posted the code as a comment to the video but it’s really hard to find. Try this direct link and scroll down, it should be the first comment but you need to click “Read more” to unfold the code. We think the Tube Map would make a great test for any retrocomputer, so we look forward to this feat being repeated.

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Author Of this post: Jenny List

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