This 115-megapixel map of Mars is stunning

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David Cornish

Before the age of SatNavs and Google Maps, Ordnance Survey (OS) were probably responsible for ensuring most of your childhood holidays ended with you actually navigating your way back home, creating immaculate maps of Great Britain.

Now the British cartography group has tackled a whole new travel destination: the Western Arabia Terra, a 10 million square kilometre desert of Mars.

Click to enlarge

Created using Ordnance Survey's tried-and-tested mapping techniques, this detailed 1:4,000,000 scale study of the surface of Mars draws on open data collected by NASA. While it might appear an artful vanity piece, it actually serves the ;more pointed purpose of demonstrating if the OS mapping style would be suitable for future European ExoMars missions to the Red Planet. 

"Mars is a very different topography to the Earth to map," explains Cartographic Designer Chris Wesson. "The surface is very bumpy but at such a large scale I had vast expanses of land that appeared flat relative to the craters each of several thousands of metres depth, hence the need for different lighting and surface exaggerations. This varying topography led to several attempts by trial and error to find a workable contour interval."

The map isn't currently in print, as OS is running a competition with The Times to design a new lander logo for inclusion on the final design. Check it out in the zoomable version above, or head here.


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