Formosat-5 completes full topographic map of Taiwan, free poster coming soon

Formosat-5 has completed a full cloudless topographic map of Taiwan and free poster for the public will soon be available

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Topographic map of Taiwan. (NSPO image)

Topographic map of Taiwan. (NSPO image)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A complete cloudless topographic map of Taiwan proper has been completed by Formosat-5 (福爾摩沙衛星五號), the first remote sensing satellite entirely made in Taiwan, and a free poster of the map will be available to the public soon, Taiwan's National Space Organization (NSPO) announced the on Monday (Feb. 26).

While the satellite's predecessor Formosat-2 took half a year to create a full topographic map of Taiwan, Formosat-5 was able to accomplish the same task within three months, from September to December of last year.

NSPO Deputy Director General Yu Shiann-jeng (余憲政) told CNA reporters that all relevant electronic files have been put on the research institute's website for free download with the largest size available for output being A3. As for a poster of the map, size and quantity are still being studied, and as the original map is very large in size, a smaller, free version for print is being considered, said Yu.

Yu said a commercial version of a satellite topographical map such as the one Formosat-5 took of Taiwan would normally cost in the range of NT$200,000 to NT$300,000, and would normally not be made known to the public. This is a rare opportunity that has come about as a way to share the success of the satellite with the people of Taiwan, said Yu.

Yu emphasized that regardless of whether its a digital or print version of the map, sensitive areas of military bases have already been concealed in order to avoid any national security leaks.


(Image from NSPO)

After six years of research and development and with a budget of NT$5.6 billion, Formosat-5, carried by the Falcon 9 rocket from Space X, Tesla founder Elon Musk’s space venture, was launched in August 2017 from the Vandenberg Air Force Space in the U.S.

However, the project of Formosat-5 did not always go smoothly. Shortly after its launch into space, the images taken by the satellite were found containing speckles of light. The organization explained the problem was one of focus.

However, after some make-up procedures and adjustments, the quality of the satellite images was significantly improved last November. Formosat-5 is now scheduled to enter service in September.