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Mapping Agency Ordnance Survey Releases Map of Mars (LOOK)


For the first time in its history, the British mapping agency Ordnance Survey released a map of a foreign world's terrain.

According to BBC News, OS posted photos mapping Mars to its Flickr account, basing them on information NASA has made publicly available.

"The cartographic style is something that is very different to your typical planetary map and is identifiable as an OS map. The key ingredients to this style are the soft color palette, the traditional map features such as contours (in brown-orange) and grid lines (in cyan), and the map sheet layout complete with legend," read a blog post from OS. "We even have a far more traditional representation of map components such as title, scale bar and graticules when compared with equivalent maps by space agencies and so on. Various cartographic techniques such as multiple lighting angles and exaggerations have also been used to enhance the shading of the relief, as well as to produce a generalized set of contour lines and optimize map label placement."

The cartographer who designed the Martian map, Chris Wesson, told BBC News the process of mapping the Red Planet was both familiar and a unique challenge. The map they produced covers about 10 million sq. km, about 10 percent of Mars' surface.

"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," Wesson said. "But actually the physical process was almost identical to what was used to make an Earth map, or any OS map.

"You have these large areas that looked flat but they're actually really rocky and uneven surfaces - that was the most difficult bit of the map, to try to show that but put it in proportion to these huge craters."

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