The BBC has a story today about the publication of a new topographic map of the Earth. This map is notable for a few reasons:
- It covers more of the Earth’s surface (99%) than any previous map
- It has a higher resolution than previous maps, using about 1.3 million images to produce a data grid with points just 30 meters apart.
- It was produced as a cooperative venture between NASA and the Japanese trade ministry.
- Best of all, the map will be available for free download.
The best previous map was less accurate, and only covered about 80% of the Earth’s surface.
The underlying data was collected by an instrument called ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer); NASA’s page relating to this project is here.