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Shuttle yields detailed, 3-D atlas

2:14pm, February 18, 2002

Rand McNally, look out. NASA scientists and Defense Department mapmakers are assembling billions of radar measurements made from the space shuttle Endeavour to produce what they say will be the world's best topographic map.

During a 12-day mission in February 2000, instruments on board Endeavour measured the elevation of land at almost a trillion locations between the latitudes of 60N and 56S. That area–a swath that stretches from the latitude of Seward, Alaska, to points south of South America's Cape Horn–represents about 80 percent of Earth's landmass and is home to approximately 95 percent of the world's population.

On Jan. 22, NASA released the data for the

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