Ordnance Survey map commemorates 1969 moon landing

15 May 2019

Following the positive reaction to the Mars map Ordnance Survey (OS) created in 2016, OS has headed into space once again.

This time, Britain’s national mapping agency has employed its distinctive cartographic style to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing. 

Cartographer and data viz specialist, Paul Naylor, used NASA open data to create a stunning map of the lunar landing site, depicting the landscape where Neil Armstrong famously took his ‘one small step’ and mankind’s ‘giant leap’, when becoming the first human to walk on the moon. 

Paul, who is Programme Chair and Council Member of the British Cartography Society, was part of the cartographic design team responsible for the recent release of OS Open Zoomstack, a free, customisable digital mapping toolkit that gives developers the ability to create quick, easy 2D and 3D maps for use in apps and websites and offline pages.

He says about the moon map: “The moon continues to interest humans. We saw that recently when the Chinese successfully landed on its dark side. The 1969 moon landing is one of humanity’s greatest scientific and engineering achievements, and the challenge of applying our innovative cartography and mapping tradecraft in honouring this achievement was too great to resist. I hope people can appreciate this as not just a map, but also as something beautiful to look at.

Even though the principles are the same, the design and the aesthetics of an Earth map differ greatly to making one of the moon. OS’s iconic cartographic style is easily identifiable, and this map uses the classic OS approach and so is like no other map of the moon. The OS style uses soft colour palettes combined with traditional map features and a map sheet layout complete with legend.

The map took three weeks to produce, and covers a 1350x1000km extent of its surface to a scale of 1 to 1470000 million. Before OS’s 2016 Mars map, OS last created a map outside of British shores in the mid-1990s. OS continues to work across the world, but as consultants advising other national mapping agencies and organisations on how to improve their geo-capabilities.

Website Ordnance Survey

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