Birkbeck, University of London > News > Birkbeck academic behind first OS map of Mars

Birkbeck academic behind first OS map of Mars

Birkbeck planetary scientist Dr Peter Grindrod has instigated the creation of the very first Ordnance Survey (OS) map of a planet outside Earth.

Following Dr Grindrod’s request to Britain’s mapping agency, a digital map of Mars has been created using open data published by NASA. Charting approximately 7% of the Red Planet’s surface (3.8million sq miles, roughly the size of the United States), the map has been published online at the OS Flickr account.

Dr Grindrod’s request to create the map comes as part of his involvement in the European Space Agency’s (ESA) ExoMars rover project. As a UK Space Agency Advanced Aurora Research Fellow, Dr Grindrod has been working with the ESA and other agencies to propose landing sites for the rover. At present, the spacecraft containing the rover is planned to launch in 2018, and land on Mars in 2019.

Dr Grindrod explained that the map of the planet, which is set to a 1:4,000,000 scale, was created in part to see if the OS style of mapping has potential for future Mars missions, and also to showcase the NASA data in a widely accessible way.

The academic, who is based at Birkbeck’s Department of Earth and Planet said: “We regularly make maps of Mars, but they don’t have the same aesthetic appeal of OS maps. The idea was to see this immediately-recognisable OS style applied to Mars, and I think the result is great. I want a big copy for my wall!”

(Image caption: Extract of OS Mars Map. Copyright Ordnance Survey via Flickr)

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Published: 17 February 2016