Upside down world map shows “North is Up” is not “the truth”

Upside down world map shows "North is Up" is not "the truth" Is it deceptive to follow conventional wisdom for many years? (Click the map to enlarge)
"The notion that north should always be up and east at the right was established by the Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy (90-168 AD). "Perhaps this was because the better-known places in his world were in the northern hemisphere, and on a flat map these were most convenient for study if they were in the upper right-hand corner," historian Daniel Boorstin opines. Mapmakers haven’t always followed Ptolemy; during the Middle Ages, Boorstin notes, maps often had east on top–whence the expression "to orient." But north prevailed over the long haul. By the time Southern Hemispheroids had become numerically significant enough to bitch, the north-side-up convention was too well established to change."

On maps, why is north always up? from The Straight Dope>>
Buy a different version of an upside down map (not the same as the one shown) from the Boulder Map Gallery>>

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11 thoughts on “Upside down world map shows “North is Up” is not “the truth”

  1. Photos of the Earth from space merely service our northern hemisphere-centric view of the world, most of the time.

  2. This is most interesting. Many of us assumed the "popular" world map orientation correct. I now believe it incorrect and the upside down orientation more correct. The Genesis account makes more sense now.

  3. There is no up or down, north or south in space. we all have to read from the same hymn sheet (as the saying goes) so why fret!

  4. This map commits a different map sin though – the equator isn’t in the middle – it makes the Northern hemisphere seem larger than the southern.

  5. Puh-lease! This complaint could just as easily be applied to those in the Southern Hemisphere who find that their sundials turn counter-clockwise and therefore complain about their analog watches and clocks running clockwise instead.

    The convention was set in the most populated sections of the world (the parts of the world where the majority of land is, by the by) and that’s that. To say that it’s "not the truth" is ludicrous. It’s true because we in the Northern Hemisphere said it was!

  6. ….The North is placed that way dude to the magnetic pull same with the southern. The placement names of the pole are by human so the notion of "North" and "South" are all just label made by people to make a type of classification system. Same goes for East and West, which was decide by the sun moving from horizon to horizon. If you don’t quite understand think about why up is called up and down is called down. If that doesn’t fit your fancy, Think about why a cat is called a cat in english, a gato in spanish and a neko (??) in japanese.

  7. A lot of people are quick to point out problems with this ‘upside down’ map. It’s just a consciousness-raiser, people. Not a challenge to the natural order 😐

  8. I think the reason that most people on Earth view "North" as "toward the top of Earth" is because most people, both historically and present day, live in the Northern Hemisphere

  9. Good reasons for north-up: northern hemisphere has more hills (higher); southern hemisphere has more ocean (lower). Habitable land with "white nights" (sun always visible) are north (save for Antarctica). More obscurely, the North Star.

    Good reasons for south-up: during southern-hemisphere summer, the planet is closer to the sun. From most lands of earth, the sun and tropics (higher temps) are southward.

    Good reasons for east-up: earth spinning (rockets launch best eastward) and sunrise, when darkness turns to light. Olive Mount is the highest part of Jerusalem (east thereof).

    Good reasons for west-up: in the hottest part of the day, afternoon, the sun is west. The sky is most colorful during sunset. As each day carries on, the sun is always more and more west. The "Temple Man" figure (Jerusalem Temple) has its head (Holiest Place) to the west.

    If it had been up to me, I think I woulda picked either south-up or west-up. Probably west.

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