The Ordnance Survey is the UK’s mapping agency. Since 1791 it has helped governments, companies and even individuals by producing and updating maps.
How often do maps need updating anyway? You might be surprised. The OS days they make over 10,000 changes to its database of 450 geographic features every day.
The most recent map from agency is of a 3672x2721km chunk of Mars. The OS used NASA open data and the skills of Carographic Designer Chris Wesson, an appropriate colour palette to draw details on a scale of 1 to 4 million.
They’ve shared a reduced version of the map on Flickr under the Creative Commons license. This means sites like In Pure Spirit can share it within the rules. You can too if you keep the proper attribution credit.
But why create it in the first place? David Henderson, OS Director of Products, told press;
The private sector and space agencies are currently in competition to land the first person on Mars. Becoming more familiar with space is something that interests us all and the opportunity to apply our innovative cartography and mapping tradecraft to a different planet was something we couldn’t resist. We were asked to map an area of Mars in an OS style because our maps are easy to understand and present a compelling visualisation, and because of this we can envisage their usefulness in planning missions and for presenting information about missions to the public.
In Pure Spirit
If you had the chance to be the first person to visit Mars but risk not being able to come back – would you go?
Image credit: Ordnance Survey on Flickr.