Armstrong’s Moon

Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the Moon died on Saturday. He was one of the very few, who could have a crater legally named after him during his lifetime.

Vladislav Shevchenko, former Chairman of the Lunar Task Group of the IAU’s  Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature remembers:  “I met him on COSPAR meeting one year after the Apollo 11 mission, in 1970.  He visited the Moscow State University and signed on the lunar globe prepared by Sternberg Institute. Neil’s signature is on Mare Tranquillitatis, near the crater Armstrong. The dates mean the day of landing on the Moon and day of visit to Moscow University.”

Here are the historic images of a historic era.

Neil Armstrong signing the Lunar Globe of Sternberg Astronomical Institute in Moscow. Photo by Vladislav Shevchenko
Neil Armstrong’s signature on the Lunar Globe of Sternberg Astronomical Institute. Photo by Vladislav Shevchenko

Photos courtesy Vladislav Shevchenko, used with permission.

The same globe but with cyrillic nomenclature can be seen here. The virtual 3D version is here.

Digital Cultural Heritage and Cartography Saint-Dié Declaration 2012

On the occasion of the 2012 DCH2012 conference held in Saint-Dié-des-Vosges (France), the

following declaration is issued:

– the growing relevance and respect that international society has toward open access
to digital information on Cultural Heritage
– that location aspects are of central importance to all multimedia documentations of
Digital Cultural Heritage
– that Cartography is the integrating science for enabling knowledge fusion and synergy
from the use of complex digital archives of literature, pictures, maps, video, audio and
other multimedia documents by spatial reference and analysis
– current possibilities of awareness of the business sector (e.g. promoted by European
Community, DG Media) as well as in UN organizations (UNESCO, UNGGIM etc.)
– the current gap between digital library/archive sciences and the Geoinformation
– the massively growing interest in spatial search and analysis in cross-media databases
– digital library and archives enterprise-wide management approaches to spatially
referenced information objects and massive details
– maps to help linking of video and/or voice recordings and thus enable other types of
knowledge to be generated (not only cartographic knowledge)
– the concepts of “map” and “atlas” is increasingly accepted and used in society at large


The following issues need urgent attention:
– Each discipline involved in Digital Cultural Heritage needs a clear understanding of the
methodologies, practical results, services and possible courses of action
– Considerable amounts of Cultural Heritage Data are still not captured and not being
preserved while simultaneously there is a growing risk of further data loss caused by
natural and technical disaster threats as well as by technological change and lack of
adequate policy actions.
– There is a need to develop information mining methods and techniques for very large
archival collections using spatiotemporal relations between catalog entries, objects,
and their granular information constituents.
– Examples are needed on issues such as the analysis of “closeness” of objects
(neighborhood in spatial as well as in cognitive sense) and all their details (text,
pictures, video elements, digital newspaper archive elements etc.) and these need to
be extended to other spatial analysis functions

Special action is required to:
– Extend the definition of cartography to include the Digital Human Sciences
– Increase and broaden interdisciplinary cooperation in the Digital Human Sciences
– Encourage local, regional, national and international institutions and public
authorities to find appropriate alliances for the creation of digital heritage archives
that comply with international standards (OAI, OGC etc.)
– Include and increase Digital Cultural Heritage information demand in the specification
and realization of national/supranational information infrastructures
– Address the need for free and open access to publicly funded heritage information
(especially from radio and television stations archives) to the appropriate political and
administrative bodies
– Encourage the inclusion of digital libraries and archives organizations as well as the
private sector as full contributing members of information infrastructure.
– Encourage digital archivists to learn and understand the significant properties of the
spatial digital content
– Include novel user information and use service demand
– Encourage cartographers to analyze what are the requirements of their material and
use cases in order to develop standards
– Encourage the International Cartographic Association (ICA) to compile examples of
best practice of synergic knowledge detection and Cultural Heritage Information
Service product chains
– Encourage new possibilities of information exchange (fora, panels, strategy teams) to
report and discuss on innovative business cases of spatially enabled Digital Cultural
Heritage information and highlight aspects of increased efficiency, effectiveness, and
low cost services
– Include the (external) application of cartographic methodologies and techniques to
digital humanities in the academic curricula
– Mutually involve cartographers and librarians/archivists as well as scientists and
practitioners from other fields of Digital Cultural Heritage (e.g. Archaeologists, Arts,
Architecture) in events and workgroups of their professional societies .

DCH2012 Interdisciplinary Conference on Digital Cultural Heritage was organized by CODATAGermany (the German National Committee for CODATA, the Committee on Data for Science and
Technology of ICSU (International Council for Science)) in cooperation with ICA, INTERCARTOINTERGIS conference series, Comite Francais de Cartographie, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Kartographie


The original document can be accessed at:

The Martian ‘Serpens’ – a new landform type on Mars

A new category for designating surface features in extraterrestrial worlds have been approved last week. IAU WGPSN has approved the use of a new descriptor term for “sinuous features with segments of positive and negative relief along its length”. There is no feature having the term Serpens yet, but a feature in Aeolis Dorsa (Mars) is expected to be approved to be designated as Serpens. It is a rule that new descriptor terms are approved only if there is a real need for that; one may ask: what is so special in these Martian serpents that made them not fit any of the previous 54 (!) categories? We have dorsa for positive features (for example for possible eskers or sinuous rigdes on Mars) and we have vallis for negative sinuous features. However, Mars hosts sinuous features that are both negative and positive along their path. When they formed, serpentes  were either positive or negative features (probably negative: fluvial valleys), and their current peculiarity was caused by differential erosion and cementation. Since the geographical tradition is that features are classified by their current shape,  or morphological characteristic, these paleochannels are now negative to positive landforms, and as such, deserve their own descriptor term.

A nice example of a martian sedimentary serpent (serpens landform)  is visible in the following image (courtesy of Rebecca Williams)

The first paper discussing these features using the new names will soon appear in Icarus by Williams et al.