Upside down

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Proaxiom writes:
I've been trying for some time to find a globe oriented with Antarctica at the top. I could do this with a regular globe, but the writing would be upside-down.

I presume demand isn't great enough for anyone to manufacture such a globe. You can find maps with south-at-top orientation, mostly from Australia, but no globes.

I want to have such a globe to put it in my office. For me it serves as a reminder that many things we naturally think of as immutable are in fact completely arbitrary.

Here's Iain Banks:

"Sma, believe me; it has not all been 'fun.'" He leaned against a cabinet full of ancient projectile weapons. "And worse than that," he insisted, is when you turn the godamn maps upside down."

"What?" Sma said, puzzled.

"Turning the maps upside down," he repeated. "Have you any idea how annoying and inconvenient it is when you get to a place and find they map the place the other way up compared to the maps you've got? Because of something stupid like some people think a magnetic needle is pointing up to heaven, when other people think it's heavier and pointing down? Or because it's done according to the galactic plane or something? I mean, this might sound trivial, but it's very upsetting."

Incidentally, a lot of GPS-based navigation systems seem to be configured by default to orient the map in the direction you're travelling. I suppose you could get used to this, but really I'd rather have it oriented North up.


The Boy Scout Handbook (in my day at least) taught that one should orient maps in the direction of travel because it would be easier to relate landmarks you can see to points on the map. So the GPS feature makes sense.

[This comment is from Pehrs. I accidentally deleted it. -- EKR]

Having worked many hours with maps (mostly sea charts) I think I can answer that question. It depends a lot on how much time you have and what precision you need.

When you have plenty of time and need precision and bearings a map with north up is a saver. It makes work much easier. On the other hand that assumes you have all the tools necessary for tradition navigation.

On the other hand, when you are doing high speed navigation you haven't got the time to work with the usual tools. Then you use smaller maps and turn them so the direction you are traveling is up. This comes natural and makes the navigation both faster and safer, as long as the exact compass bearings are not as important.

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