1. rory
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    rory Contributing Member

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    Looking at the World a Little Differently

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by rory, Mar 6, 2010.

    [​IMG]The Upsidedown Map

    I guess this won't be new to some on the forum (the ones from "down under" ;) they've had a 'Universal Corrective' map for decades), but I recently came across this while wandering about on the internets. It has made me rethink a lot about how I see the world, and I've had to do some readjustments to my own paradigms.

    Having maps with north on top is relatively recent. Apparently it was once more common to have the "top" of a map either south or east. Interesting. I fully intend to buy a map like this. It’s like discovering the world all over again!

    Anyways, thought it was interesting and thought I’d share.
     
  2. Lavarian
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    Lavarian Contributing Member Contributor

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    Wow, that is actually pretty shocking to look at! :eek:
     
  3. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    Whoa, I've never seen a map like that! My brain keeps trying to flip it around so it looks normal. I want one!
     
  4. DvnMrtn
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    DvnMrtn Contributing Member

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    I like it! Something so simple as flipping the map can have such an impact on the way we think...one of the reasons I love literature, how skilled simplicity can just blow your mind.

    Good find!
     
  5. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    It looks like I am looking at some fantasy map...
     
  6. DvnMrtn
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    DvnMrtn Contributing Member

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    Isn't it great? :p
     
  7. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    My cousins from Australia brought me a big tea cloth with that map printed on it, as a present when they came to visit :p It was far too good to use for drying things, so its hung up on my kitchen wall, and often gets admired!
     
  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, I have seen the "upside down map" before.

    If you think about it, our concept that north is up and south is down is an arbitrary choice. It could have just as easily gone the other way. Most world maps sold in the US put the US (of course) in the middle which has the annoying side effect of cutting Asia in half. I always opted for the map that puts Africa in the middle. That one make the division at the Bering Strait.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Makes more sense to put the break at the International Date Line.
     
  10. rory
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    rory Contributing Member

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    I've never seen the maps that cut Asia in half, Must be an American thing. :p I too prefer the division along the international date line. However, from my Google searchings, a lot of the so-called "upside down maps" make the split in the Atlantic ocean, effectively putting Australia, China, Japan, etc, in the middle. Frankly, I don't care whose in the middle, but it's nice to switch up our perspectives every so often. After all, who decided north was "up?" There really isn't an "up" when you consider the universe as a whole. We as humans just feel an overwhelming compulsion to classify and order thing, and all to often people mistakenly believe that it's set in stone.
     
  11. Humour Whiffet
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    Humour Whiffet Banned

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    Love it! It's given me a great idea for an humorous article.
     
  12. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    For those outside of the U.S. who have never seen the Amerocentric map:

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, it is not what I would call ideal.
     
  13. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    What is the point in that? Are there any of those maps in schools?

    I also found a Bhutan-centric map just to highlight how ridiculous it looks when the perspective of a map is taken off of the Meridian.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. KP Williams
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    KP Williams Contributing Member

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    Hm. I've never seen a map like that, and I've spent every minute of my life in the States. :rolleyes: With that in mind, I can only question your saying that "most" world maps sold here are like this. Because from what I've seen, almost every map in the country is in the standard layout.
     
  15. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Perhaps there has been a change over time.

    I'm old enough to be a parent to the majority of the forum.

    When I was a kid (the only time I really remember having to look at these maps on the classroom wall) the Amerocentric map was the only one I remember.

    It may also be that I spent most of time in D.O.D. schools....

    *shrug*

    But as regards the initial concept of the O.P., "Looking at the World differently," I think this change in perspective with time remains on target.
     
  16. Speedy
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    Speedy Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have a version (or did as a kid. Not sure what i did with it) like this, but with Australia flipped the correct way.
     
  17. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think you're right, Wrey--in my NATO school I remember a map like this, only because my father made a sarcastic comment about it. I just thought then it was because we 'happened' to be doing the country in geography!

    But I must say the 'normal' map with America on the left still looks more 'right'--which is stupid, of course. These different maps are a timely reminder of how easily manipulated we can be.
     
  18. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    Most maps place the Greenwich meantime in the centre - at least that makes sense. These perspective maps, with specific countries centralised, are just unnecessary and confusing, in my opinion.

    Medieval maps were drawn with Jerusalem in the centre, and the result was explorers thinking that the world was pear-shaped.
     
  19. rory
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    rory Contributing Member

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    Confusing, maybe. Unnecessary? I'm not so sure. A little confusion may be necessary to keep us all on our toes and keep our minds open enough to appreciate different points of view. Having the map break at the international date line makes "sense" and so does having greenwich at the centre, I agree, it's also what I'm used to. Maybe that's why I agree?

    I'm really intrigued by the whole concept of how people classify something as normal. Seeing the world "upside down" is surprising and at first glance I hardly recognized it. That seems wrong to me. I feel I've failed as a citizen of earth, because I might not have immediately recognized my home planet if NASA sent me a picture from space with the "south on top." We are all just so used to one particular way of looking at things.

    [​IMG]

    Awareness is the first step, right? :D
     
  20. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It could be just as confusing if you were presented a polar view, or any view in which the rotational axis is not perpendicular to the viewing vector (i.e. the axis does not lie in the plane of the "photograph" you would be looking at straight on.)

    Experienced hikers, and boat and airplane pilots, are familiar with rotating a map so "up" points in the direction of travel. It's just that we rarely do that with a global map.
     
  21. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    good post!
     
  22. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Things have happened to me recently that have turned my world upside down anyway, so this makes perfect sense to me. ;)

    Seriously though, there is no "up" in space - it's merely a construct of Northern Hemisphere scientific bias I reckon. For example, if an alien species were to visit Earth, it's just as likely that their ship would be flipped around so that Australia was "uppermost", and they might return to their home planet with a "map" of Earth that reflected that point of view.
     
  23. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i'm guessing north got to be 'up' and south 'down' due to the first map-makers residing above the equator, instead of below it...

    which makes me wonder if the incas had drawn maps, would north/south have been reversed?
     
  24. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Or perhaps the bottom would be the east, and the top the west, so the sun travels up the map every day.
     
  25. rory
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    rory Contributing Member

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    When I found this, I had read that maps have been drawn differently over the ages by the many cultures of the world. What was the "top" of the map depended on cultural/religious view of the people doing the mapmaking. If I remember right, east and south east were common.
     

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