NASA Updates Topographic Maps

NASA has teamed with Japan’s Earth Remote Sensing Data Analysis Center to create a new topographic map covering 99% of the Earth’s landmass.  The maps are created using two sets of data from Japan’s ASTER sensor which are slightly offset from one another.  Merging the data creates a 3D look like Google Earth’s topographic display.  The elevation measurements are 30 meters apart.  The real benefit here is that it’s the first global elevation model and it’s freely available for anyone in the world to use.  Furthermore, since it’s using the existing ASTER sensor, new models can be built often, which allows for significant change detection from year to year.  That’s especially important in areas like West Virginia, where mining techniques can have a significant impact on the topography.  Watch the video at the link for more information and some great visuals!

Via Gizmodo