Satellite technology has revolutionised the map-making process and has taken the field of aerial photography to new 'heights'.
The year of 1957 saw the beginning of satellite imagery with the launch of the Russian satellite, Sputnik. With the launch of the Landsat satellites by NASA in 1972, satellite imagery began to be sold commercially.
Nowadays satellites can take very detailed digital images of the earth's surface from over 650 kilometres away. They can identify objects on the earth as small as one square metre and circle the earth fourteen times a day.
An exciting recent development in mapping is the availability of detailed maps on the Internet.
Google Maps is an excellent example. This program allows you to select a country and zoom in and get very detailed maps, often down to small street level. While coverage of Ireland is not as good as it might be, it is improving all the time.
A sister product, Google Earth, provides a way to zoom in on particular parts of Ireland, using a huge database of satellite images. Depending on the level of coverage available for a particular location, you can often see your own town, village or even house !
Map-making has come a long way.