A cartographer with the UK's Ordinance Survey (OS) has created a map of Mars – or 7% of it, at least – using open data available from Nasa.
Using a 1:4,000,000 scale, the celestial map has been made "to see if our style of mapping has potential for future Mars missions".
Speaking on the OS website about the project, designer Chris Wesson spoke about his favorite section of the map and the challenges he faced mapping a planet he'd never been to.
"Even though the principles are the same, the design and the aesthetics of an Earth map differ considerably from any planetary map that I’ve seen before. That, for me, is the biggest difference."
The key difference between this map and other outlines of outer space is predominantly the aesthetic and coloring.
"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 colour palette, the traditional map features such as contours (in brown-orange) and grid lines (in cyan), and the map sheet layout complete with legend. "
Already the map has been given a one-off printed edition intended to help a British scientist land a rover in 2019. When asked about whether his map could be used by future explorers of the planet Wesson said:
"It is a nice thought, that one day people could pinpoint the landscape around them from a map just as in the British countryside but the map may be quite different by then.
I have to take my ski gloves off to unfold a piste map! So I imagine even if the content was useful some design thought into the product format would be required. Do astronauts have heads up displays on their visors?"
Despite Wesson's valiant efforts, we're still some way to have a fully functioning lay of the land. The OS map uploaded onto Flickr only covers around 10 million square kilometers, about 7% of the red planet's total surface.
You can see more of Chris Wesson's individual maps on his blog.