• Because everyone's used to North being "up." It's arbitrary but it's just the way it is.
  • It's good to have a standard with maps. If the part of the map with the little compass gets torn off or becomes unreadable, it's one less thing to have to worry about
    • herb7knapp
      Avenere Cladding is a US-based full-service designer-importer-distributor of NeaCera and is responsible for all aspects of its testing, code compliance and contract fulfillment. Website:
  • It saves having to stand on your head while you read them.
  • I think it was originally picked to be at the top of the map because compasses point to it, so it has always been the most important point from a navigation standpoint. Now it's just a standard. If you were to make a map with the west on top, it would confuse the heck out of everyone. Wieners Never Eat Soggy? NO! that doesn't sound right at ALL! :)
  • Because there is more land mass in the Northern Hemisphere. North was never at the top of the map until Navigators used the North Star and magnetic compasses to find their way, East was always at the top (at least in the Western world) as it was the direction of the Holy land.
  • There are plenty of other map projections that don't show North at the top, but the Mercator projection gained popularity in schools due to the fact that it is easier to find all of the countries clearly with the least amount of distortion.
  • Because when you make maps with the south on top, everyone falls off.
  • It's an obvious choice. There is only one fixed direction point for geography, which is related to astronomy, and that is the North Star--the sun rises and sets farther north or south during the season, so it's not a fixed point. And the fixed point toward which everything tends is likely to be at the top of a page.

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