Maps. What’s up?

I was in Leeds with my daughter the other day, and she was asking how far away a particular shop was. I noticed one of the new maps they’ve been putting up[1] recently, and went over to show her where the shop was, and where we were.

Here’s the map in question:

Leeds city centre map, Victoria Gardens

I showed her where we were in Victoria Gardens. There’s us, there’s the library and the art gallery, and we have to go down that street, turn right and it was just…

Wait a second. Let’s take a closer look at that map.

map detail, facing South

Now, eagle-eyed residents of Leeds (or anyone familiar with the city) will notice something interesting about this map.

Go on, I’ll give you a second.

What’s up?


The map is, from a traditional map-reading perspective, the wrong way up. North is usually at the top, right?

However, this map made perfect sense. The map we were looking at was on the north side of the stand, and we were facing south. Therefore, everything in front of us physically was ‘up’ on the map.

We quickly checked the other side of the map display.

map detail, facing North

Facing north, everything ‘up’ on the map was north.

Neat bit of design there, map-makers. Nicely done.

Have you noticed any nifty maps recently? I love a good map. I can feel a blog post series coming on…



[1] someone is now going to tell me they’ve been there for *years*, I’m sure.

Author: dave

Book reviewer, occasional writer, photographer, coffee-lover, cyclist, spoon carver and stationery geek.

9 thoughts on “Maps. What’s up?”

  1. [1] don’t worry, they can’t possibly have been up years as places like the arena and Trinity are on there.
    Poor analysis Mr Graham!

  2. This is what is known as the GPS effect. Next thing you know, maps will have a vanishing point …

  3. Ha! I never noticed that before. I will have to check them out next time I am in Leeds and also now feel like investigating the Manchester ones too. Isn’t it great how a small shift can make a map accessible for people who aren’t so map savvy?

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