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Why the map get this direction as we see today?

  1. Sep 11, 2010 #1
    In all map, we always see the north on top, why's that? when was this way first used? Anybody know?

    Thanks
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 11, 2010 #2
    my guess is that the North Star is the one orientation point that never moved. looking at it, east would be on your right. but that's just a guess, i have no idea.
     
  4. Sep 11, 2010 #3
    Yes, it seems that the most common maps are upside down. However, some maps are printed correctly:
    http://flourish.org/upsidedownmap/mcarthur-large.jpg" [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  5. Sep 11, 2010 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    Historically in the West, maps were produced with east on top. See Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T_and_O_map" [Broken].
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  6. Sep 12, 2010 #5
    Could it be that Mercator projection requires maps to be orientated North South and if you live in the Northern hemisphere it is easier if the North Pole is at the top of your globe?
     
  7. Sep 12, 2010 #6

    Office_Shredder

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    Changing which end is at the top is as easy as turning the map sideways.

    Equivalently, turning the globe sideways when you begin the projection.

    I assume the north is top thing is a combination of the fact that most of the world lives in the northern hemisphere, and that compasses point north
     
  8. Sep 13, 2010 #7
    On a Mercator projection the bits at the top and bottom of the map are very distorted so turning the globe on its side would cause lots of problems.
     
  9. Sep 13, 2010 #8

    Office_Shredder

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    Eh. If it's 1600 and you live in Europe do you really care if China and the North America are stretched out?
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2010
  10. Sep 13, 2010 #9
    It reminded me of American world map :rofl::
    http://www.thetruckersreport.com/truckingindustryforum/attachments/the-world-is-a-joke/4373d1243693805-american-world-map-472f2713d9a0famerican_world_map16.jpg [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  11. Sep 13, 2010 #10
    Its because a compass needle points north (or up) and its more intuitive to human nature that an arrow would point up or forward rather than down.
     
  12. Sep 13, 2010 #11
    Nah, the compass needle could go either way depending on how you put the magnetization.

    My guess would be that when they discovered that earth is rotating they thought that it would be proper to put the axis of rotation as the proper up/down and then by arguing "We are of course on the top half of the world!" north went to the top.
     
  13. Sep 13, 2010 #12
    If it's 1600 and you want to navigate your ship to China or America, then yes it matters quite a lot if China and America are stretched out.
     
  14. Sep 13, 2010 #13

    Office_Shredder

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    Well that's not strictly true. The point of mercator projection is that it preserves angles so you still know the right direction to go in.
     
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