Resources Research

Making local sense of food, urban growth, population and energy

The slow spread of the right-side-up map

with 2 comments

Himal Southasian's pioneering 'right side up' map

The excellent monthly journal from Kathmandu, Himal Southasian, had some years ago invested much time and some money to create a “right side up” map of the Southasia region. (Himal spells it that way, one word.) In this map, Sri Lanka is at the top, India spreads out below it, like a large triangle, the water bodies of the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea (or the mer d’Oman, as the French have long called it) are to the left and right respectively.

The delta of the Ganga-Meghna-Brahmaputra empties upwards, and so does that of the Indus. India’s major peninsular rivers flow from right to left (and not the other way around). The terai and Nepal are to be found towards the bottom of the map, where the topographical artwork shows the high Himalaya, Hindu Kush and Karakoram. Right at the bottom of the map are Tibet and China.

It is a first class rendering of Southasia carefully done, and I have a print copy which I have kept carefully. You can order Himal’s right-side-up Southasia map here.

The Economist's very shoddy knock-off 'right side up' map

Now, several years after it first drew surprised comment and made waves in international conferences and media, the Himal map has been used as inspiration by a mainstream weekly, The Economist. (Actually, the Economist is right-wing and transatlantic, not worth subscribing to but useful as a borrowed read to learn what the globalisation crew are plotting next.)

As part of their special report (9 September 2010) on South America (the magazine calls it Latin America – try telling that to the tribes of the cordillera) they have a comment titled ‘Nobody’s backyard’, which has to do, transatlantically, with the USA and South America.

The illustration accompanying this comment is a map of South America right-side-up, Himal style – Argentina and Chile at the top of the continental triangle, Brazil to the left, the USA and Canada at the bottom. Of course the Economist has used only country outlines and names, not the painstaking rewriting of several hundred towns, cities and natural features which is what makes the Himal right-side-up map remarkable. Still, it’s a start.

Written by makanaka

September 20, 2010 at 10:29

2 Responses

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  1. Famous Argentine band Entré Rios has made an upside down N & S America map their cover art for their new album.

    Adam

    Adam Auxier

    February 9, 2011 at 05:23

    • Wonderful! Thanks Adam for this info and the link to the album art. I’m going to share it with my ‘Southern’-minded friends. Rahul

      makanaka

      February 9, 2011 at 10:00


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