Say it aloud: "Pause." When facing north, the east is on the right and the west is on the left. When facing south, the east is to the left and the west is to the right. And when facing east or west, follow the sun for reference.
There are actually two ways to figure out which way is west. You can either look at the sky or use an instrument. If you look at the sky, there are three stars that you can see from the earth that are always in the same place, regardless of where you are on Earth. They're called the North Star, the South Star, and the West Star. The North Star will never move from its spot even if you travel far across the planet. It's like a big dot in the night sky that doesn't change no matter where you go. The South Star does stay put, but only if you are sitting down. If you are standing up, then it will seem like it's moving across the sky from east to west. The West Star is between the North and South Stars. It too stays put, but only if you are standing up. If you are sitting down, then it will also appear to move across the sky from east to west.
So which way is west based on what I just said? That's easy! The west is where the Sun is going to be this time tomorrow.
East and west are perpendicular to north and south. The east is rotated clockwise from north to south. West is the polar opposite of east. It is rotated counterclockwise from north to south.
Therefore, west is left when you are looking at a map. East is right.
These questions require that you consider the orientation of the map. On a conventional map, which is drawn with north at the top and south on the bottom, west is left and east is right. However, if you were to reverse the direction in which you read the coordinates on the map, then east would be left and west would be right.
For example, if you were to travel west from New York City and then turn south, you would reach Los Angeles. If you traveled east from New York City instead, you would reach Boston. In both cases, you would have traveled 1,000 miles since arriving in New York City.
However, there are two different maps being discussed here. One has north at the top and south on the bottom while the other has south at the top and north on the bottom. On these reversed map coordinates, west is right and east is left.
You spin 45 degrees anticlockwise. You're looking southeast. You perform a 45-degree clockwise turn. You're looking north-west.
To learn where the north, south, east, and west are, start by pointing your left arm towards the sun in the morning. Caitlin Dempsey contributed to this image. Now, take your right hand and direct it westward. You are now facing south, with your back to the north. Repeat this process for east and west.
Now that you know how to face each direction, use them to help identify locations around you. For example, if you see a mailbox, you can determine which direction is east by looking at which way the street signs are pointing. If you need to go north, turn right until you hit a road sign that points north.
Facing north means that you are facing into the wind. If it is blowing from the north, you should walk toward the southwest. This is called the "highway" or "road" when used to describe directions on a map or GPS device.
Facing south means that you are facing into the wind. If it is blowing from the south, you should walk toward the northeast. This is called the "field" or "garden" when used to describe directions on a map or GPS device.
Facing east means that you are facing away from the wind. If it is blowing from the east, you should walk toward the northwest.
The four cardinal directions are north, east, south, and west, which are typically denoted by the initials N, E, S, and W. East and west are perpendicular to north and south. It is not known exactly when or why "west" was chosen over other directions, but it is believed that since north is always up in a clear sky, looking down on earth, something similar might have been true for explorers who had no way of knowing which direction was which until they reached a new land. There they would have turned west and hoped for the best.
North and south are mutually exclusive because there can be only one origin for coordinates on a map or in science. If you go north then you cannot also go south. However, this does not mean that people did not travel south before they discovered north. For example, Christopher Columbus sailed west from Europe to America long before he discovered Australia.
Also, due to political circumstances, it was not possible for explorers to travel both south and west at the same time. If they had done so, their claims to ownership of part of another country would have been invalid. For example, an explorer could claim all the land between the Amazon River and the Pacific Ocean as his own, but not if he also went ashore in Brazil while traveling down through South America.
There is a direction known as "northwest." It is precisely midway between north and west, or 45 degrees in either direction. Directions between west and northwest are referred to as "north of west," whereas directions between northwest and north are referred to as "west of north." The same is true for the east and west.
The north west and south west are two directions that describe parts of England. The term "north west" refers to an area of England west of the River Mersey and south of the Lake District. This would be the region of Cheshire, Cumbria, and part of Lancashire. By contrast, the "south west" describes the area of Somerset, Dorset, Devon, and Cornwall.
These are some common words used to describe areas of the world. Knowing these different names for parts of the world will help you understand maps and atlases more easily.