Geographic Pocket Atlas of Mars

I´m very happy to present you today a new product which recently could be finished and is now available for everyone. Please have a look to this new post.

Cover of new Geographic Pocket Atlas of Mars

Geographic Pocket Atlas of Mars – Application for Astronomy Clubs is now open “Mars 36” is the title of a new Atlas of Mars, published for Mars Year 36, with a geographic approach. This is the first planetary Atlas that presents a planetary surface with physical geographic thematic layers. The landforms created by lava, wind, water, and ice are shown separately on a topographic base map. The thematic layers are taken from other scientific feature databases, combined in a way as it is familiar in terrestrial atlases. Also included are the first Martian climate charts and climate maps, and another first is the first manually edited Martian albedo map of the 21st century. The explanations are in English, Hungarian and Czech languages.  Its structure and themes follow 20th-century school atlases. At the same time, the atlas also follows in the footsteps of the planetary mapping school in MIIGAiK, Moscow, founded by Kira Shingareva.

The map editor, Henrik Hargitai, the former chair of the Commission on Planetary Cartography, graduated from the Department of Geography at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest. He began his planetary mapping career in an internship at the Lunar and Planetary Institute, and then in the Cosmic Materials Space Research Group of Szaniszló Bérczi at ELTE, Budapest. Mapping works began in 2016 at NASA’s Ames Research Center where he worked as postdoctoral fellow.

The Atlas will be first presented to the scientific community at the March 2021 Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.

Astronomy circles and clubs in Central Europe (defined here as Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Slovakia) can apply for the Atlas for free of charge as a group, by sending a visual or literary group work entitled “The Perseverance Landing on Mars — and Us”, to, by 25 February 2021. The best applicant groups will receive the atlas for all the group’s members up to 18 years old. Please indicate the number of children in the group (6-18 years old) and the postal address.

Available online:

Henrik Hargitai

planet map editor

Perseverance rover landed successfully on Mars

After nearly seven months of travel, NASA’s Perseverance rover has successfully touched down on Mars on February 18, 2021. The mission’s goals are to search for evidence of past life and habitable environments in Jezero crater and collect and store samples that, for the first time in history, could be returned to Earth by a future mission.

Mars 2020 landing ellipse inside Jezero crater. (Credit: USGS).

To safely land on the rugged Martian landscape, the spacecraft used a new technology called “Terrain Relative Navigation.” As it descended through the planet’s atmosphere, the spacecraft used its onboard maps to know exactly where it is and to avoid hazards as it lands on the planet’s surface. For the navigation to work, the spacecraft needs the best possible maps of the landing site and surrounding terrain. And now safely landed, these base maps will continue to serve for mission operations on Earth as scientists plot where the rover will explore once it’s on the ground. The new maps are based on images collected by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s Context Camera and the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera and are available online here. Images taken by Mars Express’s High-Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) and the HRSC Team created elevation models were also critical in validating these maps.

Also released, and to help with ground operations, is a new geologic map of Jezero crater and Nili Planum, an ancient and cratered highlands. The geologic map covers the landing site and surrounding terrain that the rover will encounter on its travels during the course of its mission. An online viewer for this geologic map has also been made available.

Jezero Crater on Mars Geologic Map Detail
Geologic Map of Jezero crater on Mars (Sun and Stack, 2020;

New Paper: Knowledge Inventory of Foundational Data Products in Planetary Science

A new paper by authors J. Laura and R. Beyer was just released to help solidify Planetary Spatial Data Infrastructure (PSDI) terms like foundational and framework and provides a thorough knowledge inventory of available planetary data products. see:

As defined by the paper, rigorously accurate foundational products are critical for cartographers when creating derived maps. And by building these these derived maps, for example a elevation-based derived shaded reliefs with contours, cartographers will be creating framework products, thus adding to the overall knowledge inventory.

Is every foundational data product listed in the paper? There are bound to be missing products and soon the paper will become outdated, but it is a great place for researchers and the public to locate existing planetary data. Quote: “We also note that this manuscript, at least at the time of submission and surely by the time of publication, will be out of date. To this end, we are working to turn the data collected and organized within this peer-reviewed manuscript into a living, searchable web-based resource. “

Once this live site is defined by the authors, we will link to it from this page.


Some of the key components of any Planetary Spatial Data Infrastructure (PDSI) are the data products that end-users wish to discover, access, and interrogate. One precursor to the implementation of a PSDI is a knowledge inventory that catalogs what products are available, from which data producers, and at what initially understood data qualities. We present a knowledge inventory of foundational PSDI data products: geodetic coordinate reference frames, elevation or topography, and orthoimages or orthomosaics. Additionally, we catalog the available gravity models that serve as critical data for the assessment of spatial location, spatial accuracy, and ultimately spatial efficacy. We strengthen our previously published definitions of foundational data products to assist in solidifying a common vocabulary that will improve communication about these essential data products.

Invitation for a book contribution

Dear colleagues and friends,

I´m happy to forward you a invitation as a potential contributor for a very interesting book project. Please see post below and contact Manfred Buchroithner for any questions.

All best,



Dear All,

As one of the co-founders of the ICA  Commission on Planetary Cartography and one of the assigned co-editors of the book entitled “Advances in Mars Research and Exploration”.
I want to invite you heartily to contribute a high-level article of appropriate  interest to this book in preparation.
It will be published within the famous book series Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences.

In case you are interested, please contact me (

Best regards and a peaceful and healthy advent time,

Manfred Buchroithner


Special Issue “Cartography of the Solar System: Remote Sensing beyond Earth”

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Cartography is our only way to place data and knowledge about objects in the solar system into a broader spatial context. It enables us to gather information, detect relationships, and visualize shapes of objects, topographic and compositional characteristics, and temporal dynamics. Cartography helps us to plan, locate, coordinate, and analyze our exploration attempts on various scales. Yet, cartography is more than just the spatial framework that allows us to relate observations.

The Special Issue “Cartography of the Solar System—Remote Sensing Beyond Earth” aims to collect original research and in-depth reviews covering the cartography of the solar system, ranging from planetary surfaces, over natural satellites, dwarf planets, to small bodies based on data from satellite remote sensing.

The topical framework is explicitly broad and includes basic research as well as applications of remote sensing methods and cartographic techniques to build cartographic products. We welcome contributions in the fields of cartographic communication, mapping techniques, map projections, and reference systems, as well as topics covering analytical and algorithm-oriented cartography. With geographic information system science and technology playing an integral role, we would like to see contributions in the fields of digital remote-sensing data management, spatial model building, data models, and spatial databases, as well as spatial infrastructures and metadata in the field of planetary sciences.

Papers covering applied topics and decision-making processes, e.g., landing site selection, natural resource mapping, geologic mapping, hazards, and others, would provide a balance to theoretical contributions.

With the rapid increases in the large volumes of data posing new challenges and providing new opportunities in planetary cartography, we welcome contributions on the topics of advanced remote sensing data visualization, interactive maps, web mapping, and dynamic data visualization based on modern data science techniques in particular.

Prof. Dr. Stephan van Gasselt
Dr. Andrea Nass
Guest Editors

A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 February 2021.

For more information please feel free to visit the web page

Planetary Cartography at the EGU2020

We would like to draw your attention to the session on Planetary Cartography, Mapping and GIS (PS6.3 Co-organized by ESSI4/G13) at the EGU in Vienna (3-8 May 2020).

This session welcomes presentations covering a wide range of topics on planetary maps, cartography as well as planetary data management and visualization.

Specifically, we invite contributions in the fields of data archiving, dissemination, structuring, analyzing, filtering, visualizing, data collaboration, and map compilation.

We welcome in particular contributions from the Earth Mapping and Data Sciences for discussions and exchange of experience.

Abstract Deadline is 15 January, 2020 (13:00 CET).

Session details:


Information on financial support (for students, early career, and established scientists):

Note, that those seeking financial support must submit their abstract by 1 December 2019 to be eligible.

We are looking forward to your contribution and to seeing you in Vienna next year,

The Conveners

(Andrea Nass, Angelo Pio Rossi, Alessandro Frigeri, Stephan van Gasselt, and Valentina Galluzzi)

Mapping for Space Mining?

The “First Conference of Future and Emerging Mining”


One of the most important drives for geologic mapping have come from the mining industry. This aspect has not been relevant for other planets yet, but the new era of geologic mapping is on the horizon. The “1st conference of Future and Emerging Mining” will be held just before Christmas, next to Las Vegas, USA, perhaps signalling the potentials and risks of the future space mining business.

Professor Kefei Zhang (SPACE Research Centre of RMIT, Australia) told us that a wide range of disciplines are expected to be present, including mining, geodesy / geo-sciences, planetary science, space science, mineral resources, robotics, Earth observation systems and geomatics.

The conference is organized by the China University of Mining and Technology (CUMT) that is “ranked the best mining university” in the People’s Republic of China (Wikipedia). The other organizing institute is the Colorado School of Mines (CSM). The event is also sponsored by the International Society for Mine Surveying, the RMIT University from Australia and the University of Nevada.


China is about to establish a research center for space mining 

Dr Zhang told us that it is planned that “a new research institute is going to be formally established in CUMT” related to space and future mining using emerging technologies. Starting a new journal on this topic is also under way.

The CUMT space mining institute in PR China has up to 5 postdoctoral researcher positions open now. Full PhD scholarships are also available from the Chinese Ministry of Education that cover both tuition fee and living expenses.

For potential future opportunities, including post-doctoral fellows, PhD scholarships, academic collaboration, grants etc. please feel free to contact the CUMT via  email:, or

The conference website is at:


Related article about chinese space mining: China’s Get-Rich Space Program

AutoCarto 2020 – Call for Abstracts

The Cartography and Geographic Information Society (CaGIS) is pleased to announce AutoCarto 2020, to be held May 20–22 on the Esri campus in Redlands, California. Workshops will take place on May 19.

The call for extended abstracts and preconference workshop proposals is now open. We hope you will consider holding a workshop for your ICA commission in conjunction with AutoCarto 2020. Please see for details.

Also, please note that student assistantships, including a $750 stipend, are available on a competitive basis. Please see for details. Additionally, the ICA offers scholarships for young scholars to participate in commission workshops. Please see details at

3D Printed Small Bodies on Your Desk

A new set of small and mid sized planetary body shape models have been published  in a format that can be used directly in 3D printers. The files are in .obj format. The catalog contains 21 asteroids, 5 comets and 21 planetary satellites. The latter mostly includes irregular bodies, but the famous Mimas is also included. If you just want to play with the models, is a good online tool for viewing and rotating the shape models. The file size (and resolution) of the shape models vary from few 100s kbytes to more than 100 Mbytes.

For professional planetary cartographers and geologists the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory developed a new mapping tool where irregular bodies can be easily mapped.

Image: Shape model of Bennu is being printed at the EPSC-DPS meeting in Geneva

20190917_162308A variety of shapes and sizes

20190917_163152Churyumov-Gerasimenko in your hand