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ICC2015, Rio: Commission Meeting

August 26, 2015

The International Map Year 2015-16 has been officially launched by Georg Gartner, president of ICA. This will be part of the activities planned for the next year by our commission, the Commission on Planetary Cartography. Here is what happened at the commission meeting in Rio de Janeiro today.



Left to right: A. Kohanov, M. Gede, H. Hargitai, N. Kozlova, I. Karachevtseva

Left to right: A. Kohanov, M. Gede, H. Hargitai, N. Kozlova, I. Karachevtseva

We discussed the possibility of a future book on planetary cartography in which chapters would be organized around one theme with authors from different countries, describing their working methods.

We discussed the development of an online International Multilingual Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature.

We have agreed on organizing special events such as map exhibitions as part of the International Map Year.

We will continue the series of Multilingual Maps of Terrestrial Planets and Their Moons with the Galilean Satellites, as it was proposed by Kira Shigareva.


Full term report of the ICA Commisson on Planetary Cartography 2011-2015

Our place in the community: Planetary Cartography has several professional organizations worldwide: NASA’s Planetary Data Archiving, Restoration, and Tools program, and NASA’s planet-specific Data Analysis Programs provides funding and implementation – through USGS – of new geological and thematic planetary mapping of results derived from US space missions. Planetary mapping of results from European missions are implemented by DLR. Aside ICA, another professional organization dealing with planetary cartography is ISPRS WG IV/8 Planetary Mapping and Spatial Databases which provides definition and development of planetary cartography resources for professional cartographers. In this environment, ICA’s Commission on Planetary Cartography is focusing on involvement of classical cartographic products that involve no new base research, but are the cartographic representations of planetary surfaces utilizing already published data. Nevertheless, these are higher order products or products of historic importance. The commission also aims at opening the so-called planetary geological and other thematic mapping to non-US citizens.
We would like to note in this report that one of the co-founders of the Commission, also a co-chair at that time, Kira Shingareva passed away in 2013. This is a great loss for the planetary cartographic community.
Our results according to the titles in our terms of reference:

1. Update of the Multilingual Maps of Terrestrial Planets and their Moons series
We have created and published online a brand new series of six planetary bodies in 11 languages, specifically targeting children.
Papers related to this project:
Hargitai H and 11 others (2015) Multilingual Narrative Planetary Maps for Children. Lect. Notes Geoinf., Cartography, Claudia Robbi Sluter et al. (Eds): Cartography – Maps Connecting the World.
Hargitai H and 10 others (2015) Planetary Map Series For Children. 46th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference #2257

2. Participation in Specialized Planetary Cartography GIS projects

One of this project is the development of Phobos GIS at MIIGAiK’s MexLab.
On another pathway, we have started to explore the opportunities of ArcGIS related planetary mapping projects, but no project was completed. The GIS projects underway are extracting spatial data from professional publications and make them publicly available through our website, in ArcGIS-ready format.
An important addition deals with the ontology and symbology of planetary cartography. This project is carried out in Germany. Paper: Stephan van Gasselt, Andrea Naß (2013) Planetary Geologic Mapping: Initial Thoughts on an Ontology Framework. 26th International Cartographic Conference, Dresden.
We have developed a planetary geovisual application that helps in estimating distances and areas on planetary surfaces by comparing them to terrestrial country and state outlines;
Paper: Country Movers – an Extraterrestrial Geographical Application. Cartography Beyond the Ordinary World Symposium, Niteroi, 21-22 August 2015. mycountryonmoon/

3. Planetary Nomenclature / Gazetteer supplements
We have co-authored a paper on Chinese and Russian planetary gazetteer development that can serve as type examples for future gazetteers.
Paper: Henrik Hargitai, Chunlai Li, Zhoubin Zhang, Wei Zuo, Lingli Mu, Han Li, Kira B. Shingareva and Vladislav Vladimirovich Shevchenko (2014) Chinese and Russian Language Equivalents of the IAU Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature: an Overview of Planetary Toponym Localization Methods.The Cartographic Journal. DOI: 10.1179/1743277413Y.0000000051
Historic toponym research and database-building is conducted by Thomas Gangale and Marilyn Dudley-Flores.
Paper: Thomas Gangale and Marilyn Dudley-Flores (2013) Proposed Additions to the Cartographic Database of Mars. 26th International Cartographic Conference, Dresden.
We have developed a nomenclature database frame for future use

4. Foundation of a new, bi-annual international children‘s and student‘s drawing competition, with special focus on planetary cartography
This project was not implemented. Instead, we have focused on creating a series of children’s maps that can serve as a basemap for future drawing competitions.

5. Development of a curriculum for geography or physics teachers at high school level, in which they can use planetary cartographic products
This project was not realized.

6. Participation in the making of a textbook on Extraterrestrial Geography at high school and university level, and creation of cartographic products for this available online
Instead of a textbook, an encyclopedia was developed with thematic entries on planetary landforms, and features.
Book: Hargitai H, Kereszturi A (2015) Encyclopedia of Planetary Landforms. Springer-Verlag New York

7. Online resources
See 8.

8. Creation of a new, updated website for the commission with various resources for the planetary cartographer community worldwide, including the International Planetary Cartography Database which is a documentation, bibliography and analysis of the international planetary cartography products
We created and maintain and update the following websites:
The International Planetary Cartography Database –
Commission website:
Commission Facebook page:

9. Making official contacts with the WG of Extraterrestrial Mapping at ISPRS, with IAU Commission on Solar System Nomenclature, with planetary mapping groups in Germany (DLR), the USA (NASA/USGS), China and Japan

Only informal contacts have been made as the commission moved to different pathways as these organizations.


Abstracts of posters presented at the conference:


1Karachevtseva, I.; 2Kokhanov, A.; 3Rodionova, Z.; 4Konopikhin, A.; 5Zubarev, A.; 6Nadezhdina, I.; 7Kozlova, N.; 7Oberst, J.

We have prepared an Atlas of Phobos, which based on new data from Mars Express mission and innovative techniques for recently derived Phobos control point network and shape model (Nadezhdina and Zubarev, 2014; Oberst et al., 2014). The Atlas contains results of Phobos research, based on Mars Express images from the HRSC Camera including its SRC-Channel (Oberst et al., 2008): gravity field working models and studies their characteristics (Uchaev Dm. et al., 2013); geomorphologic properties of craters (Basilevsky et al., 2014); calculations of surface roughness (Karachevtseva et al., 2012); morphometric studies (Kokhanov et al., 2013); statistics of crater size-frequency distributions based on multi-fractal approach (Uchaev Dm. et al., 2012); and surface compositional studies based on HRSC color-channel data (Patsyn et al., 2012). The Atlas includes 42 thematic maps describing various aspects of the surface of the small irregular body with various scale: from global maps (1: 250 000) to several local maps based on images with high resolution (1: 60 000-1: 40 000). The structure of Atlas consists of four chapters and describe some aspects of Phobos research and mapping: 1) History of Phobos mapping in Russia; 2) Control point network, shape model and gravity field of Phobos. 3) GIS-analyses of Phobos’ surface. 4) Geomorphologic studies of Phobos. Different coordinate systems are used to match the map content and Atlas format, for which we choose a page size of A4 (320 mm × 220 mm). The maps are based on the sphere with radius 11.1 km according to IAU recommendations (Archinal et al., 2011). While the Atlas prepared in Russian, feature names is presented in bilingual form (Russian and English). To maintain heritage and continuity with previous mapping of Martian satellite in Russia Atlas includes map of surface based on design of first Russian Phobos map produced for mission Phobos-1 and -2 (1988). The preliminary version of the map was published before the missions started, 30 March, 1988 (now is available at the web-page During preparation for those missions new cartography projections and map design were developed by Lev Bugaevskiy and Kira Shingareva (Bugaevskiy, 1987; Bugaevskiy et al., 1992). The new Phobos Atlas is held in memory of these Russian cartographers with which efforts was created the first Russian Phobos map. The digital versions of the Phobos maps from the Atlas will be placed into the MIIGAiK Extraterrestrial Laboratory web-page ( Data products which were used for the mapping also will be available at the MExLab Geoportal ( (Karachevtseva et al., 2014). Printed version of a new Phobos Atlas will be presented at the conference.

Acknowledgments: This work was carried out in MIIGAiK and supported by Russian Science Foundation, project #14-22-00197


Archinal, B. A. et al., 2009. Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy, 2011, 109, 101–135.

Basilevsky A.T et al., 2014, PSS, V.102, pp 95 -118

Bugaevsky L.M. 1985, Izvestiya VUZov, ser. Geod. i Aerofot. # 4, pp.79-90, 1987 (in Russian).

Bugaevsky, L. M., et al., 1992. Advances in Space Research, v. 12, no. 9, pp. 17-21

Karachevtseva I. P., et al., 2012. CPRSES, pp. 304-311 (in Russian).

Karachevtseva I.P et al., 2014, PSS, V.102, pp. 74-85.

Kokhanov A.A. et al., 2013, LPSC44 [# 2289].

Nadezhdina I.E., Zubarev A.E. 2014, SSR, V.48, № 4, p. 1–10.

Oberst J., et al., 2008. PSS. 56, 473–491.

Oberst J., et al., 2014, PSS, V.102, pp. 45-50

Patsyn V.S, et al., 2014 CPRSES, V. 9, № 4, pp. 312-318 (in Russian).

Uchaev, al., 2012. Izv. Vyssh. Uchevn. Zaved., Geod. Aerofotos”emka # 6, 3-8 (in Russian).

Uchaev, Dm.V., Uchaev, D. V., Prutov, I., 2013Izv. Vyssh. Uchevn. Zaved., Geod. Aerofotos”emka № 4, 3-8 (in Russian).


Evaluation of aerial survey using ADS-80 camera with post-processing by using Precise Point Positioning and Kinematic Relative Positioning methods for the location Cuiabá: a case study

1Dietzsch, G.; 2Mendes, J.; 3Rigaud, R.

This paper communicates the results obtained from an aerial survey analysis, for the location Cuiabá, Mato Grosso, performed in partnership between the Institute of Aeronautical Cartography (ICA) and Squadron 1/6° Aviation Group, both subordinate to the Brazilian Air Force. The survey under analysis used an ADS-80 camera. During this analysis, two study methodologies were used for post-processed data: by Precise Point and by Relative Positioning. Afterwards, the positional differences generated by those methods were evaluated.


Geodetic and Photogrammetric Aspects of Planetary Mapping

1Kozlova, N.; 2Nadezhdina, I.; 3Zubarev, A.; 4Patraty, V.; 5Kokhanov, A.; 6Matveev, E.; 7Karachevtseva, I.; 8Oberst, J.

Introduction. Main source for planetary mapping is images collected by different spacecrafts. To obtain a primary cartographic product such as an orthorectified image, it is necessary to perform preliminary geodetic and photogrammetric operations of creating a control network and a digital elevation model (DEM).

The study. Most spacecraft are not designed for stereo imaging of a planetary surface. This fact complicates obtaining of a precise primary cartographic product because we have to use a preliminary terrain model obtained from a control point network (Zubarev et al, 2014). A control point network is a set of points depicting the global shape of a body. In most cases a global terrain model derived from control points doesn’t characterize local relief. It causes local distortions of orthorectified images that lead to mismatch of overlapping images involved in mosaicking. It is especially important to have a detailed DEM for large-scale mapping of the surface. At our laboratory we study a lot of celestial bodies (e.g. Phobos, Europa, Enceladus, Ganymede, the Moon, Mars, Mercury, etc.), however, for the Moon we have images with the best resolution (LRO NAC provides images up to 0.3 m/pixel). Such data allows us to study regions of interest in more detail. Using the technique for LRO NAC stereo image processing developed at MExLab we create DEMs and orthomosaics (Zubarev et al, 2012), and use them as base products for future studies and mapping. Main goals of our lunar research are: – Geomorphologic and morphometric analyses of lunar surface based on DEMs and orthomosaics. We study different regions (mare, highlands, polar) to evaluate differences and similarities (Basilevsky et al., 2014) and use the results for landing site selection for future missions Luna-Glob and Luna-Resource. – Study of Soviet lunar missions. High resolution LRO NAC images allow us to distinguish Lunokhod wheel tracks and refine the routes of the rovers. For landing sites detailed DEMs and orthomosaic were derived, and large-scale maps were created. Also we process surface panoramic images obtained by Lunokhods during the missions. The resolution of panoramas is 0.06 degrees and they were taken from distance of about 1.4m from the surface, so using them we can investigate small craters and stones (~1 m) (Kozlova et al., 2014) – MIIGAiK planetary geodesy and cartography geodatabase. The planetary data model is designed for spatial information management in the geodatabase and for effective access to the storage of the results of thematic processing of the Moon remote sensing data ( Conclusion. Results of geodetic and photogrammetric processing of image data (DEMs and orthomosaics) serve as a basis for detailed research of the celestial body (geologic, morphometric, etc.) as well as for thematic mapping. All maps and results of geomorphology analyses will be combined in an Atlas of large-scale topography of the Moon.

Acknowledgements. This work was carried out at MIIGAiK and supported by Russian Science Foundation, project #14-22-00197. The work on Lunokhod panoramic image processing is supported by the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement № 312377 PRoViDE.


Basilevsky A. et al. Morphometry of small impact craters in the Lunokhod-1 and Lunokhod-2 study areas / Elsevier, Planetary and Space Science 92, 2014, p.77-87.

Kozlova al. Some aspects of modern photogrammetric image processing of Soviet Lunokhod panoramas and their implemenation for new studies of lunar surface / ISPRS Archives MTSTC4-2014-103, XL-4, 2014, p.121-126.

Zubarev A. et al. High-resolution terrain models from LRO stereo images for Luna-Glob landing site selection / abs. 3MS3-PS-13, 2012.

Zubarev A. et al. New methodology for study of the basic geodetic parameters and relief of outer planetary bodies: Galilean satellites and Enceladus / abs. 5MS3-GP-4, 2014.


Map of ancient tectonic forces on Mars – Visualization of a global stress-field model based on the new geologic map of the Red Planet

1Albert, G.; 2Ungvári, Z.; 3Merk, Z.; 4Gede, M.

In 2014 a new geological map of Mars was published by the USGS (Tanaka et. al 2014). It contains information about the extensional and compressional forces once were active on the planet. This information can be publicly accessed in the geodatabase of the map (i.e. structural lines: wrinkle ridges and grabens). These structures are in geological units mainly from the Noachian and the Hesperian periods (4.1-3.7 and 3.7-3.0 billion years bp. respectively), but a few of them appears in Amazonian units as well (younger than 3.0 billion years). Thus, the force-field which produced these objects vanished long time ago. Despite of this, the analysis and visualization of the stress-tensors may help to fine-tune and understand the global models of the Red Planet. The analysis is based on a projected 2D tensor field which was generated from the lineament pattern. The dynamics (i.e. tension or contraction) of the lines were explained in the original map database (Tanaka et. al 2014). To calculate the tensors, the linear elements were classified according to the dynamical parameters. The polyline sections of the map lineaments were considered vectors (i.e. line sections), and the tensor directions were generated attributes of these vectors. Subsequently, an irregular point cloud of the tensors was generated and processed with a component-wise interpolation. The interpolated values appear on contour/heat and tensor maps, and show the relative stress field of Mars approximately at the end of the Hesperian Period. The generated maps are displayed as overlays on the virtual globe of Google Mars.


Tanaka, K.L., Skinner, J.A., Jr., Dohm, J.M., Irwin, R.P., III, Kolb, E.J., Fortezzo, C.M., Platz, T., Michael, G.G., and Hare, T.M., 2014, Geologic map of Mars: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3292, scale 1:20,000,000, pamphlet 43 p.,


Map of Moon and Mercury roughness

1Kokhanov, A.; 2Karachevtseva, I.; 3Kreslavsky, M.

Topographic roughness maps of Mercury at different baselines were created with the latest data acquired by Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) onboard MESSENGER mission. Although the altimeter data are available for the northern polar regions of the planet only, they provide a new look at the features of topography of Mercury. The obtained preliminary results indicate a clear distinction between relatively smooth plains and rough areas of the northern hemisphere of Mercury; they also enable a comparison with statistical characteristics of topography of the Moon. Roughness maps in some sense can carry more information, than topographic maps or images of surface. Usually the planar distance between orbital laser altimeter measurements is less than a typical distance between orbits. As a result, the spatial resolution of topographic data is much better, than spatial resolution of derived topographic maps. Mapping of roughness. In this research we calculate roughness on the base of MLA (Cavanaugh et al., 2007) data. Due to amount of laser altimeter measurements and eccentricity of the spacecraft orbit by this time we able to crate map only for the northern subpolar area of Mercury between 65° and 84°N. For the Moon, we used LOLA-derived lunar roughness map (Kreslavsky et al., 2013) The topographic roughness was calculated as the interquartile range of along-profile curvature at three baselines: 0.7, 2.8 and 11.2 km. The most obvious feature on these color maps is the dichotomy between smooth plains and rough cratered regions, which is similar to the lunar dichotomy between mare and highland areas. However, roughness of cratered areas on Mercury is lower than that of lunar highlands calculated the same way. The layout contains: map of the lunar roughness on base 0.48 km (1:7 000 000) and map of the Mercury roughness on base 0.7 km (1:10 000 000). Both of maps are projected in oblique orthographic projection for the best representation of the northern sub-polar areas. While the whole Moon surface is covered by the roughness data combined with hill-shade, on Mercury only the northern sub-polar area has roughness data, and MDIS mosaic ( is used on the other areas. According to the IAU recommendations (Archinal et al., 2011) the longitude on the Moon is defined from 0° to 360° with east-positive direction, while on Mercury, from 0° to 360° with west-positive direction. Created maps can be used for comparative analysis of the differences surface of celestial bodies, which is an important aspect of the application of cartographic methods in planetary research. For example, roughness of cratered terrains in the mapped area of Mercury is lower than that of lunar highlands. Detail analysis of this difference is an interesting study that can be done with the map.

Acknowledgments: This work was carried out in MIIGAiK and supported by Russian Science Foundation, project #14-22-00197

References: Archinal, B. A., A′Hearn, M. F., Bowell, E., Conrad, A., Consolmagno, G. J., Courtin, R., Fukushima, T., Hestroffer, D., Hilton, J. L., Krasinsky, G. A., Neu-mann, G., Oberst, J., Seidelmann, P. K., Stooke, P., Tholen, D. J., Thomas, P. C., Williams, I. P. 2011, Report of the IAU working group on cartographic coordi-nates and rotational elements: 2009. Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy 109, 101–135.

Cavanaugh J. F., Smith J. C., Sun X., Bartels A. E., Ramos-Izquierdo L., Krebs D. J., McGarry J. F., The Mercury Laser Altimeter instrument for the MESSENGER mission, Space Sci. Rev. 131, p. 451-479, 2007 Kreslavsky, M. A., J. W. Head, G. A. Neumann, M. A. Rosenburg, O. Aharonson, D. E. Smith, and M. T. Zuber. (2013) Lunar topographic roughness maps from Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) data: Scale dependence and correlation with geologic features and units. Icarus, 2013, 226, 52-66. Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) // Messenger. URL:


Mapping of the terrestrial planets satellites: the Moon and Phobos

1Rodionova, Z.; 2Karachevtseva, I.; 3Lazarev, E.; 4Kokhanov, A.

Here we present the wall maps of the Moon and Phobos, which demonstrate topography of the celestial bodies. Maps of the Moon are widely used for solving important scientific tasks (Rodionova, 2000). The Hypsometric Map of the Moon is created on base of LOLA data (Smith, et al., 2010) at a scale 1:13 000 000. This map shows near and far sides of the Moon in the Lambert equal area projection. Relief is shown by contours with the combination of the hypsometric scale and shading relief (Grishakina and Lazarev, 2013). The medium level of the lunar surface is 1737.4 km and serves as zero level for heights. The height’s range on the Moon is 19.8 km. The Hypsometric Map of the Moon shows topography on the most accurate measurement to date in a global scale. Another view of the Moon’s topography is based on results of photogrammetry processing of LRO camera images (Robinson, et al., 2010): digital terrain model (DTM) GLD 100 and orthomosaic produced from LRO WAC (Scholten, et al., 2012). The layout contains two maps with relief parameters: roughness and hill-shaded relief. Both of them are created in orthographic projection with centre in 35°N and 280°E to show the eastern margin between near and far sides and the difference in its roughness. Moreover, these parameters of projection allows us to show on the both maps the most significant structures of the Lunar surface (impact basin Mare Orientale, montes of the near side and the North Pole region). Roughness of the Lunar surface is calculated as interquartile range of Laplasian (Kokhanov et al., 2013). Maps in the layout are created at the scale 1:7 000 000 and supplemented with illustrations. The map of the Martian moon – Phobos is created on the base of the newest Mars Express data: DTM and orthomosaic, produced from SRC-channel stereo images (Zubarev et al., 2012; Karachevtseva et al., 2014). The map is composed of 5 parts: one for the centre belt between 60°N and 60°S in modified Bugaevsky conformal cylindrical projection for 3-axial ellipsoid and four parts for the half-polar regions in equidistant azimuthal projection for 3-axial ellipsoid. Named features and description for the names are given in two languages (Russian and Latin). The map is supplemented by examples of 3D-modelling, which colour scheme is designed to be similar to the Phobos colour images (Neukum, 2010). Using the newest data and modern GIS technology we performed the Moon and Phobos maps using specially created digital products. Each map was designed in its special way for the best presentation of the mapped aspects: topography and roughness for the Moon or irregular shape and features of Phobos. Named features are given based on Planetary nomenclature supported by IAU ( Information in the maps is presented in clear and comprehensible form that makes them interesting not only for professionals but also for all those interested in astronomy.

Acknowledgments: This work was carried out in MIIGAiK and supported by Russian Science Foundation, project #14-22-00197

Gazetteer of planetary nomenclature.

Grishakina E., Lazarev E. (2013) 4M-S3 203 Karachevtseva I. et al., (2013) PSS, Vol. 102, 2014, Pp. 74-85,

Kokhanov A. et al., (2013) CPRSES., Vol. 10., pp. 136-153 (in Russian)

Neukum G., A coloured view of Phobos made from images taken from two different flybys in March 2010. ESA/ DLR/FU Berlin

Rodionova J.F. (2000) ICEUM-4 Proc. Fourth Int. Conf. on the Exploration and Utilisation of the Moon, pp. 11-13.

Scholten F. et al. (2012) JGR. Vol. 117. E00H17. Smith D. E. and 30 collegues. (2010) SSR. Vol. 150. pp. 209-241.

Zubarev А., Nadezhdina I. and Konopikhin. (2012) CPRSES. . Vol. 9. pp. 277-285 (in Russian).


Multilingual narrative planetary maps for children

1Hargitai, H.; 2Gede, M.; 3Zimbelman, J.; 4Kőszeghy, C.; 5Sirály, D.; 6Marinangeli, L.; 7Barata, T.; 8López, I.; 9Szakács, A.; 10Dębniak, K.; 11Feuillet, T.

As part of the outreach acivity of ICA Commission on Planetary Cartography, we have developed a new series of planetary maps targeting young readers. Our hypothesis was that the cooperation of graphic artists, planetary scientists and cartographers may result in new ways of planetary surface representation.


Topography Based Surface Analysis and Mor-phological Correlation at the Northern Plains of Mars

1Kereszturi, ; 2Madarász, B.; 3örsi, A.; 4Hargitai, H.

Topography based surface analysis and morphology correlation for the northern hemisphere of Mars – The topographic analysis of the Martian surface might help to understand basic geomorphological connections and improve our understanding in the surface features of the Earth too. In this work we correlated the statistical topographic parameters and the remote sensed image based appearance of various locations along a meridional stripe at the northern hemisphere of Mars. The topographic location of nearly horizontal plains suggests that the erosion and re-deposition was not effective enough to transport the sediments at the topographic lowest point at 50 km distance scale. Great difference could be identified between the topographic height distribution pattern of dif-ferent analyzed terrains, suggesting different variability and complexity in the range in surface feature types there. Terrains resembling the ped-iment-like structures also could be at the analyzed terrains on Mars, but their firm identification requires more detailed analysis. The statistical based topography analysis could give useful input for detailed surface research in geomorphology.


Unifying the presentation of the lunar topographic color coded map

Mu, L.; Li, C.; Liu, J.; Zeng, X.; Ren, X.; Zou, X.
The Moon is a special extraterrestrial body, without atmosphere, flowing water, even creatures. So the surface characteristics, such as the texture, the terrain and the color, are unchanged permanently. The images obtained by telescopes , orbiters, even rovers are insistent, and there is not apparent difference in color and texture. Unlike the image, the lunar topographic color coded maps released by USA, Russia, ESA, Japan, China and India are not all unified, which would make a obstacle to understand the topographic information. This research suggest a standard (scale, subdivision, coding, color, media and so on) and a method to present the lunar surface in a uniform style. Chinese cartographers have set up the national standards(lunar spatial coordinate system, Subdivision and numbering for the lunar primary scale topographic maps, which are the foundational standards for lunar mapping ) to produce topographic map at1:10 000~ 2 500 000. The experience and map product shows the unified standard and method is suitable for presentation of paper map, globe, electronic and 3D map.

Vote to NameExoWorlds — Japanese dominance in name proposals

August 15, 2015

IAU’s contest to name stars and exoplanets has begun. The website lists more than 400 proposals for names of 45 bodies in 20 systems collected from clubs and non-profit organizations. Professional organizations involved in astronomy were locked out from the contest. One-third, or 33% of the proposed names are Japanese words, 14% is of Latin origin, 13% is English, 10% Greek. The rest is shared by Armenian, Arab, Finnish, Ainu, Nordic, Chinese, Filipino, Hawaiian, Portuguese and Brazilian, Celtic and Swahili and additional aboriginal/indigenous words from Australia and South and North America. No other nation is represented in the proposals which means that only the listed nations will have their words placed onto the star and exoplanetary maps. 6% of the proposed words have no meaning: they are random character strings, mosaic words, or abbreviations.  Some even have a combination of letters and numbers – the name format the contest was designed to replace.


Only 4 of the to-be-renamed star names is a letter-number combination, most of them are classical combinations of greek letters and the name of their constellation. No wonder that some proposed to keep the original names.

It is not easy to select from the hundreds of names, partly because the explanation of the names is taken directly from the proposals, which included very different types of details. Some mythological names are spelled in Latin, Greek or French style. If names will be accepted in these formats, it will bring an unprecedented linguistic chaos and ethnic bias into planetary and celestial cartography – and the promise was to keep the winning names.

So far, IAU strictly resisted to give any words to any other organization, company or individual in naming stellar and planetary objects (except minor planets) and now the public has an unprecedented freedom to name these object as they like. This may seem to be a 180-degree turn from IAU’s earlier standpoint, when they disapproved New Horizons Pluto mission principal investigator Alan Stern’s Uwingo from collecting new names of exoplanets and Mars craters to raise funds for planetary missions. Now IAU is doing the same, without money involved, by administering a voting website and again not letting professional organizations into their way. (It must be added that IAU did approve Stern’s Pluto surface feature naming project; these names are now in informal status).

Although there are no names in the published list that would require the cartographic prudishness as in the case of S. P. Crater in Arizona, there are some interesting English coined proposals – we can say nothing about the Japanese words. So we encourage you to vote the names you like, and see what will fit the star charts to be printed.

Find the names here.

New map of Pluto and Charon

July 17, 2015

Here is the latest map of Pluto, including latest imagery and informal names. We will update this map as new information is becoming available from the New Horizons team.


Map of Charon

Pluto is a unique planet in that it always turns the same side towards its moon Charon, in other words, it is tidally locked to its Moon. No other planet in the Solar System is tidally locked it their moons, but all moons are tidally locked to their parent planets. This means that unlike other planetary maps, the map of Pluto has two distinct hemispheres: (1) the anti-Charon hemisphere that faces away from Charon (also called “Encounter Hemisphere” because it was illuminated when New Horizons flew by it.) and (2) the sub-Charon hemisphere where Charon is always visible (however, from New Horizons perspective, this is the “far side”).

The features named are all albedo features at this moment. These informally named features are named after underworld beings. For a full list of name themes, see hereHere is a list of all officially chosen future names.

Commemoration of the evil? An interesting debate emerged in social and news media whether underworld creatures should be commemorated in the planetary nomenclature – many people like the idea  (here, here, here, here, although most talk about the sf-derived names). My favorite is, though, not Vader, but Nyami Nyami proposed for a future Styx feature.

When pronunciation matters. The name of its larger Moon, Charon, is also problematic in that although it is officially named after “the Greek mythological boatman who ferried souls across the river Styx to Pluto for judgement” (IAU), i.e., Kharon (greek), it was originally intended to be named after its discoverer’s wife, Charlene (Source). NASA’s New Horizons team members, with some exception, pronounce it as Sharon, which communicates that they regard it as named after Jim Christy’s wife.

“Because of this, as an acknowledgement of Christy and sometimes as an in-joke or shibboleth, the initial sh pronunciation is common among astronomers when speaking English, and this is the prescribed pronunciation at NASA and of the New Horizons team.” (Source)

This, however, is very problematic, because as a rule, planetary satellites cannot be named after their discoverers family members, and this kind of “shibboleth” practically approves some scientists right to do it so. So, a neutral pronunciation should definitely be Kharon.

First global map of Ceres

April 15, 2015

Cartography Beyond the Ordinary World

January 12, 2015


Submission of abstracts for full papers and posters: 15 March 2015
Notification of authors about acceptance: 30 March 2015
Submission of full papers and abstracts for posters together with the registration form: 15 May 2015
Arrival of registration form and payment: 10 June 2015

Dear friends and colleagues, The ICA Commissions on Cartography and Children, Maps for Blind and Visually Impaired People, Planetary Cartography and Cartography for Early Warning and Crisis Management have the pleasure to invite you to participate in our Joint ICA Symposium entitled “Cartography Beyond the Ordinary World”. The event will be held in the Institute of Geosciences of the Fluminense Federal University in Niteroi (Brazil) during the 21st and 22nd of August, 2015 and it is organized within the International Map Year as well as the activities previous to ICC 2015 in Rio de Janeiro. More detailed information can be found on the Symposium website: All the colleagues involved in the organization of the event hope that the symposium will be an excellent occassion to exchange opinions and experiences about the common points in the work of our commissions. One of our main aims is to bring an opportunity to connect the international academic research and educational community with the Brazilian scientific potential in each of our research fields to foster a professional, constructive and innovative dialogue. It is open not only for commission members, but for all those colleagues across the wide spectrum of research, teaching and other activities covered by the world of Cartography. Looking forward to meeting you in Niteroi next August! On behalf of the four participating commissions, Best regards Jesus Reyes

UPDATE — Call for papers for the Rio ICC2015 conference extended

November 12, 2014

3rd Call for Papers – ICC2015 Attending several requests the deadline for full paper and abstract submissions will be extended until November 15th, 2014 November 22nd.

Call for papers in the brand new International Journal of Cartography

November 12, 2014

The International Cartographic Association (ICA) has partnered with Taylor and Francis to establish a new international journal that will promote research in the fields of Cartography and GI Science: The International Journal of Cartography (IJC).


More about the journal:


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