Has all of the Earth been mapped?
Earth has been completely mapped to some degree, but there are a few regions that remain under-explored with maps that are now old and unreliable.
Asked by: Lizzy Daw, St Leonards-on-Sea
Yes, though not to a uniform level of detail. According to cartographer Mick Ashworth, consultant editor of The Times Atlas of the World, most of the Earth has been mapped down to a scale of 1:500,000 (1cm:5km), though some polar regions and parts of Central and South America remain to be covered even to this level of scale. The maps for some areas, especially in Africa, are also many decades old, and thus pretty unreliable.
Subscribe to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun science facts.
Robert is a science writer and visiting professor of science at Aston University.
- Try your first 6 issues for just £9.99 when you subscribe to BBC Science Focus Magazine.
- Risk - free offer! Cancel at any time when you subscribe via Direct Debit.
- FREE UK delivery.
- Stay up to date with the latest developments in the worlds of science and technology.