New Earth Map

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.

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