But researchers have evened the score at least a little with the creation of a new map of the world's seafloor. Twice as accurate as the previous version produced almost 20 years ago, the new map details thousands of previously uncharted mountains and provides new clues on the formation of the continents.
The new map's accuracy is thanks to improved remote sensing instruments and access to two previously untapped streams of satellite data. These come from the ESA's CryoSat-2, which is usually focused on monitoring polar ice volume but also operates continuously over the oceans, and NASA's Jason-1, which was redirected to map Earth's gravity field during the last year of its 12-year mission. Data from these satellites was combined with existing data and used to develop a scientific model that captures gravity measurements on the ocean seafloor.