# MRT Station Maps

How come MRT station maps don’t all have North at the top? It’s very confusing to look at a map with North at top, and then go around to other side of sign and North is at the bottom. Or to walk around the station and the maps at different locations have North at different locations.

Look at the map on one side of the station, then walk to the other side of the station, and the map is flipped the opposite direction so have to figure it all out again.

Must be a different philosophy behind the way they use and display maps than what I’m accustomed to.

Yes, it’s a different philosophy. MRT street maps are usually oriented to face the same direction that you are - so if you’re facing east, the map has east at the top. I find it quite logical, although it’s not quite the same as what I grew up with. The only real issue I have is seeing maps in a new place and taking a few seconds to figure out if it’s aligned with north or with the direction currently faced.

I learned to do pretty much the same thing with outdoor navigation in the mountains: turn the map to align to your current direction.

[quote=“lostinasia”]Yes, it’s a different philosophy. MRT street maps are usually oriented to face the same direction that you are - so if you’re facing east, the map has east at the top. I find it quite logical, although it’s not quite the same as what I grew up with. The only real issue I have is seeing maps in a new place and taking a few seconds to figure out if it’s aligned with north or with the direction currently faced.

I learned to do pretty much the same thing with outdoor navigation in the mountains: turn the map to align to your current direction.[/quote]

There must be some type of terminology for the differences. I was taught to always keep the map with North at top and never turn map around to align.

Yes, it’s logical if you’re on the ground level, but when you’re in B3 and have to make several turns to work your way up to the ground level, you tend to lose the orientation as you wind your way up.

Because Taiwan is in reality a small place, but it has always “felt” big to its inhabitants. And part of this is because of the collective lack of a sense of direction.

Yes, it’s logical if you’re on the ground level, but when you’re in B3 and have to make several turns to work your way up to the ground level, you tend to lose the orientation as you wind your way up.[/quote]
This is exactly how I see it. In my opinion, if you’re underground, maps should have north up, because there are no streets or landmarks visible.

But they do it differently here, so I always advise people to look for the compass points on the map.

I kind of like it. Even though it’s totally different than anything I’m used to, it just seems right to me for some reason. But I’m always pretty well oriented in Taipei (I should be by now).

I have noticed that my Taiwan friends only know one way to drive to places around Taipei. It’s not like they know their way around town. Sometimes we will go across town by an indirect route, and then I ask why, and they respond “Because I only know how to drive that way”. And I’m thinking, “If I knew where you were going, I could of directed us straight there”.

We have literally gone in a big circle and returned from the opposite direction to a different location because that is the only way they know to go.

[quote=“tango42”]I have noticed that my Taiwan friends only know one way to drive to places around Taipei. It’s not like they know their way around town. Sometimes we will go across town by an indirect route, and then I ask why, and they respond “Because I only know how to drive that way”. And I’m thinking, “If I knew where you were going, I could of directed us straight there”.

We have literally gone in a big circle and returned from the opposite direction to a different location because that is the only way they know to go.[/quote]

Been there, done that. One of my friends only knows one way out of the T1 Carpark at Taouyan Airport - he turns LEFT and does a lap around the Terminal - but there is a RIGHT turn option, which I pointed out last time, much to his amazement!!

There are a couple of others that I have been in, mostly avoiding Nanjing Road, but that is maybe a hangover from when it was a construction site for the MRT.

I understand why they only take one route. Taipei streets have no logic to them, you end up running into dead ends and weird branches and loops if you deviate from routes you know. You think that if you notice a different way and take it, it ends up going into some bizarre way and you get lost.

do you remember the scene in MIdnight Express ( I think) where everyone is going around the pole in one direction and then our guy wanted to go in the opposite direction?
No can do.

Just like I think in Mecca, everyone goes around the central pilar in one direction?