Satellite Data Creates New Earth Map

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PASADENA, Calif., Oct. 17 (UPI) — NASA says it has released the most complete digital topographic map of Earth yet, creating it in cooperation with Japanese researchers using satellite data.

The map, called a global digital elevation model, was created from images collected by the Japanese Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer instrument aboard NASA’s Terra orbiting spacecraft, the agency said in a release Monday.

The ASTER instrument, launched on Terra in 1999, acquires images from visible to thermal infrared wavelengths, with spatial resolutions ranging from about 50 to 300 feet.

The ASTER map, available online to users everywhere at no cost, covers 99 percent of Earth’s landmass and spans from 83 degrees north latitude to 83 degrees south.

“This updated version of the ASTER global digital elevation model provides civilian users with the highest-resolution global topography data available,” Mike Abrams of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said.

“These data can be used for a broad range of applications, from planning highways and protecting lands with cultural or environmental significance, to searching for natural resources.”

Users can download the ASTER global digital elevation model at: https://lpdaac.usgs.gov/.

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