The UN Corrects Cartographic Bias

April 1, 2019

South on topA world map with south on top. Small image: The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

The United Nations (UN) has made a landmark ruling that, starting in April of 2019, all maps will be inverted, placing South on top and North at the bottom. The move is intended to correct years of unfair suppression of the Southern Hemisphere and its inhabitants.

UNESCO deemed the change a necessary response to the cartographic bias that has punished half of our world for so long.

As a means of ensuring that the measure is not over-corrective, a time limit has been established. The UN has determined that, "for the next 100 years, all maps will be drawn with the South Pole on top."

When reached for comment, current Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, praised the decision, adding that "Aussies have been pushed down to the bottom for too long, and we're hopping mad about it. The Land Down Under? Not anymore, mate!"

Nations all over the world have weighed in. Most South American countries are all for the change, but President of Ecuador, Lenín Moreno said, "We're on the fence about it."

All over the world, school teachers and map makers are scrambling to address this change. Seterra is taking the ruling seriously and is hard at work correcting all map quizzes. You can already play the popular quiz 30 Most Populous Countries on an inverted map. We plan to have all quizzes inverted by the end of April. We will, of course, switch them back in April 2119.

Historically, the standard as to show North or South on top has varied. For example, very early Egyptian maps show South on top. Map makers in Arabia and ancient China also often drew maps with South on top. Putting North on top didn't become the universal standard until the 16th century.

South on top
The 30 Most Populous Countries, with South on top. Click the map to play the quiz!