Calling Future Martians: A Topographic Map of Mars Has Just Been Released

British mapping agency Ordnance Survey (OS) just released an incredible topographical map of terrain from the planet Mars. The easy to read map covers about 10 million sq km (3.8 million sq miles) of the red planet’s surface, or about 7%. It highlights the area where the tiny Mars Pathfinder rover landed in 1997, and where the Opportunity rover landed in 2004.

The map, available on flickr in a massive 11574 x 9921 pixel size, will be familiar to anyone who has navigated earth. Using open data from NASA, OS plotted contour lines for the area in 250 meter intervals, giving a clear look at the many ancient river beds and crater marks that cover the planet’s surface. Many have fantastic names like “Sagan” and “Wahoo”.

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It was a little hard at first to actually understand the data itself in terms of things like the elevation and the scale and so on,” OS cartographer Chris Wesson told the BBC. “But actually the physical process was almost identical to what was used to make an Earth map, or any OS map.

Wesson said he liked to imagine a future astronaut using the map while exploring the Martian world.

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(via BBC)

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