The map was constructed using nearly 21,000 images from the Thermal Emission Imaging System or THEMIS, a multi band infrared camera on Odyssey. Researchers at Arizona State University's Mars Space Flight Facility in Tempe, in collaboration with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., have been compiling the map since THEMIS observations began eight years ago.
The pictures have been smoothed, matched, blended and cartographically controlled to make a giant mosaic. Users can pan around images and zoom into them. At full zoom, the smallest surface details are 100 meters . While portions of Mars have been mapped at higher resolution, this map provides the most accurate view so far of the entire planet.
"We've tied the images to the cartographic control grid provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, which also modeled the THEMIS camera's optics," said Philip Christensen, principal investigator for THEMIS and director of the Mars Space Flight Facility. "This approach lets us remove all instrument distortion, so features on the ground are correctly located to within a few pixels and provide the best global map of Mars to date."