Q:

What is a small drawing on a map that indicates direction?

A:

The symbol on a map that indicates direction is known as the compass rose. The most basic compass rose in cartography is a single arrow that shows the northern direction. Others have four points showing north, south, east and west. Some have eight or 16 points, showing detailed directions.

While modern map convention matches the top of the map with the northern direction, other direction orientations are also used. English-language maps tend to focus their orientation on North America and Europe. Depending on the projection, such maps can even skew the prominence of those continents and minimize the size of others. The south-up map puts Australia, Africa or South America as the focus.

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