New technology looks to take mapping to new heights

  • Video report by ITV News Science Editor Tom Clarke

Maps are probably as old as civilization itself, but new technology is ready to change the landscape.

Britain's Ordnance Survey pioneered aerial mapping over the trenches during World War I.

The OS now wants to use that concept and take it to new heights.

"The ability to cover a large range up to 2000 kilometres in a day, allow mapping costs to come down and allow agility when it comes to the inevitable cloud cover in the UK," Julian Spooner from Astigan told ITV News.

Four years ago, Ordnance Survey bought a stake in Somerset-based Astigan, to build and test this new aerial platform for imaging the earth.

The aircraft used are designed to fly twice the height of commercial aircraft and can stay in the air for up to 90 days.

In the future high-resolution 3D maps created using data, might be read by driverless cars and precision infrastructure, although their is plenty of time to wait as the first mapping aircraft won't take to the skies until 2020.