Antarctica is now formally the world’ s most heavily mapped area or continent. From hundreds of thousands of satellite imagery gathered from polar orbit satellites from 2009 through 2018, a consortium of researchers has released the first version of the Antarctic Reference Elevation Model (REMA).
Only a handful of people have stepped on Antarctica, which is one of the most remote locations on Earth. Thankfully, the eyes in the sky have registered the surface of Antarctica in overwhelming details so that we can now visualize what it looks like even if we don’t put our feet on Antarctica’s soil.
The brand-new map covers roughly 98% of Antarctica to a southward latitude of 88 degrees, as only a tiny area close to the South Pole was left out because of the absence of satellite imagery.
Additionally, the resolution of the new map is excellent, permitting us to view objects as big as a car or even smaller in some areas.
To put the map together out of thousands of stereoscopic imagery pairs on a large topographic map, researchers inserted the data into a supercomputer and developed the software from zero. The total size of the map of Antarctica is 150 terabytes.
Scientists created the most detailed map of Antarctica with great importance for the scientific community worldwide
“So far, we’ve had a better map of Mars than Antarctica. Now it’s the best-mapped continent,” said glaciologist Ian Howat from the Ohio State University, and the leading scientists of the team who made the achievement.
The mapping project is significant for several purposes. Now that scientists are aware of the height of virtually every feature of Antarctica, they can now make better forecasts for ice sheet melting and glacier meltdown.
“If you’re someone who needs glasses to see, it’s a bit like being almost blind and putting on glasses for the first time and seeing 20/20,” added Howat.
The scientists will constantly upgrade the map of Antarctica with fresh data, helping researchers worldwide with investigations that range from the change in snow cover to the retreat of glaciers and alterations in the volcanic activity in the region.