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Tuesday 23rd September 2014
Max 19°C | Min 12°C

Why is north put at the top of a map?

Question

upside down mapScotland is always shown as being north of England. But as the universe has no top or bottom, why isn't it the other way around?
Paul, Dagenham

Answer

** Definitive **
Name: Patrick, Southgate
Qualification: I asked my Geography teacher
Answer: It's down the invention of the compass and Europeans charted a lot of the world. They used magnetic north to chart the maps and you put yourself in the centre of maps, so that's my Europe is at the centre of maps and the north is shown at the top. The Mayans would have created maps, but these weren't distributed as widely and are no longer used. So the answer is… there is no scientific reason why north is at the top.

Name: Anwar, Stockley Park
Qualification: Really not sure!
Answer: The top of the planet is determined by the flow of the magnetic charges flowing from the north to the south from one pole to another. Cartographers used to follow the north and decided it was up.

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