Tube Map Live (free) for iOS displays real-time data on tube train movements as they make their way around London. It's the latest app to come from developer Andy Drizen, who recently brought us Tube Tracker (US$2.99), which is a superb app for navigating your way around the London tube network.
Essentially, Tube Map Live is the Transport for London (TfL) underground map with little circular train graphics representing tube trains as they move in and out of underground stations around the network. Train movement is based on a combination of officially supplied data from TfL and the same algorithm used in Tube Tracker to provided the most accurate train information. However, Drizen does provide a disclaimer stating info from TfL is not always 100 percent accurate, so things can look a bit odd from time to time. But by and large, the app gives you a pretty informative bird's-eye view of the tube network.
Viewing the map with all the trains moving around at once can be a little overwhelming, so Tube Map Live has a few features to help make things a bit clearer. First, train lines can be de-selected from the map (removing the train info from that line). Second, each circular train graphic has a border shaded the color of the line it's traveling on. Third, a user can tap on a train to see its destination (for example, a Central Line train going to White City or Woodford via Hainault). Finally, at the bottom of the screen is a scrolling bar with current line information. If all that isn't enough, tap on "more," which takes you to the Tube Tracker app if you've got it installed.
Though I love Tube Tracker for planning a journey and getting very specific info on train times, Tube Map Live is fantastic for those moments when you just need to view the TfL tube map with the additional benefit of seeing live train movement information. It's also plain good fun to watch and observe the trains going about their business, especially if you're a train aficionado. At night, the map also displays ghost trains (trains that move around the network, but are not for public use), displayed with a blue, scary-looking ghost train face!