"Out of this world" opportunity for landscape architects

Following publication of Ordnance Survey mapping for the surface of Mars in February, the Landscape Institute has been asked to assist with development of landscape character assessment of sections of the Mars landscape.

Map of the Martian landscape. Image: Ordnance Survey 2016
Map of the Martian landscape. Image: Ordnance Survey 2016

Under the United Nation's Outer Space Treaty, international law applies on Mars; however a regulatory framework for development does not exist. Following an initiative discussed at the latest International Extraterrestrial Liberty Conference, proposals have been made for a U.N. New Worlds Charter and a landscape character assessment of initially small sections of Mars is being commissioned to provide a baseline for future regulation of change.

Simon Odell, the LI's head of technical & professional services, said: "How far existing guidance on landscape character assessment can be applied, will need to be tested. Clearly there is now a map base and some information about geology and topography.

"3D modelling will enable some assessment of the visual component of character to be undertaken and obviously the whole process is simplified by the lack of ecological and cultural components.

"Stakeholder involvement should also be easy, but this really is breaking new ground and unsurprisingly there is not a relevant Topic Paper on this area from Natural England."

Practices interested in working on this opportunity should express interest to the LI, initially via email. A formal process will be undertaken following this EOI phase.

However, given the potential for any development on Mars to be undertaken in a building information modelling (BIM) environment, practices with the capacity to model the terrain being accessed and share results in an .ifc format will be preferred.

Ordnance Survey maps of Mars can be viewed here.

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