Topsy-turvy maps

I was in the Zhongshan MRT station earlier today and paused to look at a posted map to get my bearings. At first this left me even more confused. Finally I noticed the problem: north was pointed down, not up, on the map. The text was correct, so it wasn’t that someone had posted the map upside down; it had been made that way.

It had hanyu pinyin, so it must be relatively recent. This has got me wondering if this is some new SNAFU, and that soon we’ll be seeing topsy-turvy maps in all the MRT stations. Has anyone else spotted such things recently in other official material?

Doesn’t anyone responsible for these things ever pay attention?! :imp:

That is kind of strange … most Chinese maps in Taiwan are oriented North, such as the hiking maps detailing local mountain paths in and around Taipei.

However, historically, Chinese maps were not always oriented north, or for the matter, even labelled dong-bei-xi-nan. There is at least one example on this page: … _Map_8.htm

where east is as the top. However, by the end of the Qing, most maps were in fact oriented North, when Chinese mapmakers began to apply Western cartographic techniques to China and neighboring countries.

actually according to traditional chinese cosmology…north points down…south up…but it’s still weird that their so traditional in that case…i’ll ask my friend who works for the mrt …maybe he knows the reason

Were you facing south at the time ? Maybe it’s was oriented to the way you are facing, so left on the map is on your left etc…

I’ve got many, many namecards from restaurants in Taipei where the small map on the back is upside down (to my eyes anyway!)

I’ll have to remember this the next time I ask my wife to read a map.

I noticed a map at the Main Railway Station MRT was oriented with east at the top, the same direction as I was facing, I ran around to the other side so I was facing the other way, and the map there was oriented with west at the top. So they are oriented to the way you are facing, a little strange I suppose, but they were trying to be helpful, especially if you don’t know which way it north… “according to this map I have to go north, but which way is that?”

Well, that must be it then, at least if the maps matthewh noticed were in hanyu pinyin (and therefore new). Because I was facing south in the Zhongshan station. I forgot to check the maps in Ximen station today; I haven’t seen the inversions elsewhere – but maybe that’s only because the new & confusing maps haven’t been posted yet.

Namecards, etc., are one thing (confusing, but not such a big deal). But when officialdom itself tries to be “helpful” by breaking with standards (nicknumbering system, InTerCaPiTaLiZaTion, etc.), this makes me feel like hurling curses at city hall. :imp:

I will not try to tolak on behalf of “all Taiwanese”, but my wife turns the map the way she is going, and she get totally confused when I read a map with north up. After getting lost one time too many (she as my co-pilot and map reader), we figured this out. She claims that they never learned any map-reading in school, and that it feels more natural to have the way you are going pointing up on the map.

This can (maybe) explain that most Taiwanese claim the CKS airport is straight south of Taipei, when the truth of the matter is that it is more West than South (actually straight west from Chungshiao E/W Rd.)

Does this have anything to do with transaltion methodes?

I don’t think the turning-map-thing is a taiwanese or chinese thing, i do that too, but unlike ur wife, i don’t get lost like this…

No, we got lost becuase I pointed out the way we were going when the map was in North-South direction, but while we were driving, our direction changed, and she could not follow that on the map.

How about maps that show clearly roads that are only “planned?” A couple of years ago my Taiwanese husband and I tried traveling one, on a brand new map bought for the trip. Got terribly lost, because although the road is on the map, and there are signs posted on the roads that lead to that road, that road doesn’t actually exist. Interesting trip it was.