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Intermap Launch First Digital Contour Map of Britain


LONDON, UK -- December 20, 2004 -- Intermap Technologies today announced a new digital contour map of Britain providing the most accurate, consistent and up to date, 2 dimensional representation of British landscape ever created. A result of one of the world’s most ambitious mapping projects, the contours have been computer-generated from a digital terrain map called NEXTMap Britain. Using advanced airborne radar, the whole of Great Britain has been mapped electronically in 3D. Using a specially equipped Lear jet flying at night, Intermap literally scanned the land to record height above sea level every 5 metres to a level of accuracy never seen before.

Contour lines connect a series of points of equal elevation or height and are the best way of illustrating topography or relief on traditional maps. Every point along a continuous contour line is at the same elevation with closely spaced lines representing a steep slope, while lines that form a ’V’ shape indicate a ravine or where they cross a stream. Concentric contour lines indicate a hill.

The first new nationwide contour map produced for many years, the new map will be of interest to anyone interested in land height, gradients and terrain at any given location. Used in association with maps, contours allow the shape of the terrain to be visualised over large areas without obscuring underlying mapping.

Contours are essentially a 2D representation of 3D data, so in a plan view it is very easy to see what is happening with the terrain. Engineers using CAD systems may well find NEXTMap Britain contours easier to use than 3D gridded data. For hard copy maps and presentations, contours are still the most effective way of displaying the rise and fall of the land. Whilst the latest 3D software allows terrain data to be combined with aerial photography to provide a real-world viewing experience, contours still have a valuable part to play.

Derived from the NEXTMap Britain DTM (Digital Terrain Model) and already in use by engineers, environmentalists and planners, the contours are resolved at 5-metre intervals and quality assured using various techniques and other datasets such as aerial photography to ensure the highest accuracy. The underlying NEXTMap Britain data is accurate enough to produce a more accurate 2-metre interval contour dataset, which may become available should there be sufficient demand in the future.

Notes to editors:

Already in use for a growing number of applications from precision agriculture to flood plain mapping, NEXTMap Britain data is sold under license directly through Intermap Technologies, ( or through its network of distributors, Getmapping (, Marconi Corporation ( and QinetiQ Survey ( Major UK users include the Environment Agency, Norwich Union, the National Assembly for Wales, the Scottish Executive and the British Geological Survey.

Please fax colour separation requests to fax no. 01666 824668

Photo is available as a 300dpi jpeg - call Robert Peel on 01666 823306


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