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MARSh wins Mars symbol competition

Martian astronauts of the future now have help touching down thanks to Bolton Marketing Manager, Paul Marsh, who has won a competition to have his Mars landing symbol design on all future Mars maps Ordnance Survey (OS) make.

19 May 2016

The design, combining the astronomical symbol for Mars with the footprint of a landing craft, was chosen over hundreds of other entrants and makes its first appearance on a slippy map, available from OS for free.

The competition inspired entries from all around the world. Amongst those who sent in designs were Neil Floyd, a graphic artist on the film The Martian, the American athlete Ashton Eaton, who on his way to winning Olympic gold set a new world record for the decathlon at London 2012, and NASA’s ‘Keeper of the Maps’, Dr Fred J Calef III, who is the American space agency’s Geospatial Information Scientist for Curiosity (rover).

Paul, a Marketing Manager from Bolton, described his win as ‘an honour’. As the creator of OS’s newest symbol he receives a framed one-off map of Mars featuring his design, a tour of OS’s head office and tickets to Leicester’s National Space Centre.

The competition was judged by Chris Wesson, the OS Cartographer who earlier this year created OS’s first planetary map using Mars data supplied to him by the competition’s other judge, Dr Peter Grindrod, a UK Space Agency Research Fellow and lecturer in planetary science at Birkbeck, University of London.

Judge’s comments on Paul’s entry: Neat, simple idea to combine the astronomical/astrological symbol for Mars with the footprint of a landing craft. This entry stood out for its clarity at all scales and for being easy to interpret, but, as mentioned above, the changing of a lander foot to an arrow head was a really clever twist.

In February this year OS announced it had mapped the Martian landscape in its own iconic style. It was released on Flickr and has been downloaded over 200,000 times. Following public demand for the map, OS made it available in March with a limited print run of 500, of which only a few copies remain available.

Nick Giles, Managing Director for Ordnance Survey Leisure, says: “Whether it is Great Britain or Mars. Paper or digital. Our innovative cartography and mapping presents people with a compelling and easy to understand visualisation. It is great that through competitions like this we get to see how much people like what we do and want to be a part of it. The standard was particularly high with this competition and there were some terrific entries.”


Explore the Mars map: os.uk/marsmap

Download high-res image of Mars map

Buy a limited edition Mars map

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