In Memoriam – Kira B. Shingareva

“If one says the words planet and map together, Kira Borisovna Shingareva is the number one figure”, the Russian weekly Russkij Reporter wrote in 2010. She certainly was the driving force behind planetary cartographic activities at all levels as a professor at MIIGAiK, the Moscow State University for Geodesy and Cartography. Her students of extraterrestrial geography include students from high school to university and post-graduate levels and even her colleagues.

Kira Shingareva graduated from MIIGAiK in 1959 as an astronomo-geodesist and was admitted to the Dresden University. She graduated from the Technical University of Dresden in 1961, received her PhD in 1974, and became a Doctor of Science in 1992. She has held the position of principal scientist at the Laboratory of Comparative Planetology at the Space Research Instutute at the Academy of Science untill 1977.

Between 1976 and 1978 Kira Shingareva completed a second degree in economics from the Lomonosov Moscow State University at the Faculty of International Relations. From 1977 until recently, she worked at the Department of Economics and Business of MIIGAiK, successfully combining teaching in a number of scientific disciplines with her work in the Planetary Cartography Laboratory of MIIGAiK .

Shingareva participated in the Russian National Space program by mapping the Moon, Mars, Phobos and Venus and selecting landing sites for the early Moon probes. Her effective management enabled MIIGAiK to carry out its planetary cartographic activities when financial aids stopped due to the Mars-96 spacecraft failure. She also helped revive the laboratory as MexLab (MIIGAiK Extraterrestrial Laboratory or Comprehensive Laboratory of Studies of Extraterrestrial Territories) in 2010 which provided a place of work and study for 50 students and young scientists and made it one of the key international planetary science centers of Russia.

Shingareva was concerned not only with the geographic and cartographic aspects of planetary bodies, but also with place names: starting in the late 1960s, she helped the development of the planetary nomenclature. Her first presentation at the IAU 1967 meeting was about the proposed new nomenclature of the far side of the Moon; that was a starting point in restructuring the system of planetary nomenclature. She was also vice-chairman of the Space Toponymics Commission  of the Russian Academy of Sciences. She believed that the management of planetary toponyms should be passed from IAU to an interdisciplinary UN commission of geographers, geologists, and phylologists.

Shingareva’s main collaborative project with her colleagues was the creation of the Atlas of Terrestrial Planets and their Moons (1992) the preparatory work for which took 12 years. The atlas was digitized and translated into English in 2007. Based on this work, Shingareva initiated the production of the series “Multilingual Maps of the Terrestrial Planets and their Moons“. Both of these projects are unique and aim to show the results of planetary discoveries to a wide and international audience in a cartography-based format.

She co-authored a high school textbook entitled “Geography of extraterrestrial territories” (2009) which, along with the new, high-school-targeted version of the atlas (Atlas of the Solar System, 2005) now provides the foundation of planetology education in Russia.

Kira Shingareva was the driving force behind the ICA’s Planetary Cartography Working Group (co-chair: 1995–1999) and Commission (chair: 1999–2007). She was also an outstanding organizer of scientific activities, playing main role preparing the 23rd International Cartographic Conference held in Moscow in 2007. Since 2007, she was an honorary member of the International Cartographic Association.

She showed tireless commitment and enthusiasm to planetary cartography, which she passed on to subsequent generations. She lived during the most exciting era of planetary explorations, at a time when she had to make the most out of the limited resources available. As she said, we move forward, step by step.

Kira Shingareva died on Sunday 15 September.

She is commemorated by the main-belt asteroid 294595 Shingareva and the small but very unusual Lunar farside crater Kira, named by her American colleagues, which will be another planetary reminder of her. 

H. Hargitai, I. Karachevtseva and MIIGAiK Extraterrestrial Laboratory (MExLab) team

In this audio recording, made in 2004, Kira Shingareva speaks about the first atlas of the far side of the Moon.

The biography of Kira Shingareva is included in the book Map Worlds: A History of Women in Cartography (Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2013) by Will Van Den Hoonaard.

Selected papers

Shingareva, K.B. (1967) ‘Presentation on Lunar Nomenclature’. In: Proceedings of the Thirteenth General Assembly, 17. Commission de la Lune. Section 2 on Lunar Nomenclature. IAU, Prague. 

Shingareva K. B. (1973) Cartographic study of the Lunar surface (картографическая изученность лунной поверхности in:  серия  исследование космического пространства  том 5 москва 1973) Space Research Series Volume 5 Moscow.

Shingareva, K.B.; Burba, G.A. (1977) ‘The Lunar nomenclature: The reverse side of the Moon (1961-1973)’. (Лунная номенклатура. Обратная сторона Луны. 1961–1973). Nauka. Moscow. Originally in Russian, In English translation: NASA-TM 75035. (NASA)

Marov MYa, Krasnopevtseva BV, Shingareva KB (scientific editors), Bolshakov VD, Kremnev RS (editors) (1992) Atlas of Terrestrial Planets and their Moons (Атлас планет Земной группы и их спутников). Miigaik, Moscow.

Shingareva, K.B., Dorrer E. (2002) Space Activity in Russia – Background, Current State, Perspectives. Universitat der Bundeswehr Munchen

Shingareva, K.B.; Sakovnina, O.V.; Pugacheva, S.G. (nd) Solar System relief feature nomenclature (Номенклатура деталеи рельефа тел Солнечнои Системы) MIIGAIK.

Shingareva, K.B., Zimbelman J., Buchroithner, M.F., and Hargitai, H.I. (2005) ‘The Realization of ICA Commission Projects on Planetary Cartography’ Cartographica, vol. 40, no. 4, 105-114.

Shingareva K.B., B.V.Krasnopevtseva, James R. Zimbelman, Egon Dorrer (2005) Compilation Of A Glossary On International Terms Related  To Planetary Cartography. 

Karachevtseva I., Oberst J., Scholten F., Konopikhin А., Shingareva K., Cherepanova E., Gusakova E., Haase I., Peters O., Plescia J., Robinson M. (2013) Cartography of the Lunokhod-1 Landing Site and Traverse from LRO Image and Stereo Topographic Data. Planetary and Space Science, Vol. 85, p. 175–187. (published September 1, 2013 )

Wählisch M., Stooke P.J., Karachevtseva I.P., Kirk R., Oberst J., Willner K., Nadejdina I.A., Zubarev A.E., Konopikhin A.A., Shingareva K.B. Phobos and Deimos cartography, (2013) Phobos and Deimos cartography.  Planetary and Space Science,

IN PRINT: Hargitai, H., Li C., Zhang Z., Zuo W., Mu L., Li H., K.B. Shingareva, and V.V. Shevchenko. (2013, accepted) Chinese and Russian Language Equivalents of the IAU Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature: An Overview of Planetary Toponym Localization Methods. Cartographic Journal.


Phobos-GIS is now available from MexLab

New interactive GIS of Phobos, moon of Mars, based on new results of image processing of Mars Express data are now available online from MIIGAiK, Moscow. The GIS was presented by Irina Karachevtseva, head of MexLab at MIIGAiK, at the iCC2013 conferece.

MIIGAiK MexLab Phobos map



Interface of the digital multilayer Phobos map

Irina Karachevtseva presents MIIGAiK's results


Irina Karachevtseva presents MIIGAiK’s results



Phobos GIS:

Phobos Topographic Map (MexLab 2012)

Phobos Crater Zone Statistics:

New Hypsometric Mars Globe from Sternberg Institute

The last corrections of a new 15 cm diameter Mars Globe are being made now at Sternberg State Astronomical Institute (SAI), in cooperation with Space Research Institute in Moscow, Russia. The preliminary globes – 10 copies – has been made earlier and were presented at the ICC2013 conference.

We call it the green Mars globe (not to be confused with Green’s Mars map that happens to display greenish hues). It’s new color scheme shows subtle colors that doesn’t resemble any of the previous color schemes used in planetary cartography. This layout is a modification of an earlier map, published in 2004.

It’s worth noting that the Lunar LRO map by NASA Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio/MIT/SVS, created in 2010, used yellowish green  to represent the mare elevations for the first time in a Lunar map, giving it a much warmer appearance than the previously used light blue color.

The nomenclature on the Russian Mars globe is shown only in Latin. The globe is unique in that it is a purely cartographic product and not a photomosaic. It shows the contour lines using MOLA data at 1 km intervals (2 km intervals 8-12 km and 10 km above 12 km of height).

The globe was made using the thermoplastic technology. The original hemisphere prepared with the image is placed in the plastic molding device, and at high temperature using a metal template the hemispheres are pressed. Western and Eastern hemispheres were recut as the northern and southern hemispheres in the azimuthal projection taking into account the law of deformation occurring during forming of the p lane in the hemisphere.

The very high temperatures that occur during the process alter not only geometry but also colors. This is taken into account after the test prints were analyised.

The hypsometric map  was created at the Sternberg State Astronomical Institute (SAI) in cooperation with the Department of Cartography and Geoinformatics Faculty of Geography Moscow State University; the color scheme was designed by J. Brekhovskikh (Space Research Institute)

We are looking forward to seeing the final version of these wonderful pieces of cartographic art and planetary science.

The online virtual globe version is now available from the Virtual Globes Museum of Eötvös University, Hungary.


Zh. F. Rodionova , J. A. Brekhovskikh [Родионова Ж.Ф., Бреховских Ю.А]  (2013) Hypsometric Globe of Mars – 3D Model of the Planet (#610) . ICC 2013, Dresden.

Ilyukhina J.A., Rodionova Zh.F. (2004) Gipsometricheskaya karta Marsa. 1:26 000 000. Moscow, Nauka.

Новая карта рельефа Марса

Hypsometric globe of Mars 2013

The test version of the 21-cm-diameter thermoplastic globe. 68 copies have been produced in 2012.

Hypsometric globe of Mars - originals

The originals that were molded onto the spheres.

Report of the ICA Commission on Planetary Cartography meeting at ICC2013 Dresden

ICC2013 ICA Commission of Planetary Cartography meeting

Meeting: August 28 2013

Chair: H. Hargitai

In the meeting we have outlined what was done and what remained a future plan from the projects defined in the terms of reference (2011).

(1) “Update of the Multilingual Maps of Terrestrial Planets and their Moons series”

This project is being realized in the form of a children’s edition of 6 selected bodies (Venus, Moon, Mars, Io, Europa, Titan). These are going to be the world’s first planetary maps designed for children; cartographic design and artwork is made by six graphic artists (children’s books illustrators) in six diferent visual approaches and techniques. The target age of maps is 7-9 years (lower elementary school), based on teacher’s observations according to which lower elementary school pupils are very much interested in planetary science whereas upper elementary school pupils, due to the nature of how sciece classes are taught, lose their interest.

The maps will be multilingual editions (translated to major EU languages) available online. Nonprofite project with funds from Europlanet / Paris Observatory ends in November. It is a question how to continue. Some options: commercial publishing, website / accompanying Booklet  (for 9-12 yrs) / apps? / collector cards / educational materials based on the maps / book series? / competition. Marita Waehlisch is planned to be a reviewer of the maps.

(2) “Participation in Specialized Planetary Cartography GIS projects“. Irina Karachevtseva is the coordinator of this task. SHe informed the gourp about the developments of Phobos GIS at MIIGAiK’s MexLab. Some links to the resultsPhobos GISPhobos Topographic Map (MexLab 2012)

MexLab also continues to organize Summer School events which is important in attracting future planetary cartographers. 

(3) “Planetary Nomenclature / Gazetteer supplements”

A paper is in print from a collaboration of chinese and russian colleagues: “Chinese and Russian language equivalents of the IAU Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature: an overview of planetary toponym localization methods”, in  The Cartographic Journal.

It has been decided and is under preparation that the commission maintain a composite gazetteer of planetary toponyms with English-Russian-Chinese names, name origins etc. For this we have asked the Chinese colleagues to provide the Chinese list of lunar placenames and in the future to create the Chinese pronunciation audio files for the existing audio guide to planetary toponyms.

The commission is planning to include the toponym research and database of Thomas Gangale and Marilyn Dudley-Flores on classical Martian names.

(4) “Foundation of a new, bi-annual international children‘s and student‘s drawing competition, with special focus on planetary cartography”.

This task was not completed. Instead, a childrens map series is being made that can serve as a basis, or starting point for various competitions – drawing competition “Now you visualize”, “Make stories using the narratives/characters on the map” etc. We are looking for coordinators.

(5) “Development of a curriculum for geography or physics teachers at high school level, in which they can use planetary cartographic products”

No activity was made. This remiains a future plan.

(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”

See previous project for details.

(7) “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”

Commission website/blog is made and is being regularly updated at (You are here)

(8) “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”

We are active is making connections with the Chinese lunar mapping community.

Further comments

It was discussed how we can make the commission more visible for the cartographic community. We have discussed, although not decided on the possibility of sumbitting manuscripts to the sessions of other commissions in the next conference. It was partly done at ICC2013 as several papers were presented on the Globes session, but it may be useful if we would prepare general presentations tailored for specific commissions, i.e. a paper about the problems of planetary mountain mapping for the mountain cartography commission’s session etc.

It may be useful to select individual coordinators for each sub-project who will be responsible for the specific task and would report on it in the next meeting.

It was suggested that we create short YouTube videos with links to maps and commission website at the end, about various surface features or topics in planetary cartography. This could make planetary cartography more attractive to the YouTube generation.


The conference had 20 papers presented, 4 posters, 16 oral presentations in the field of planetary cartography.

There is no decision on next year’s meeting but the possibilities are one of the joint meetings of commissions, either in Krakow or Budapest.

Comments, ideas, projects from You? You can comment directly here (see comment box below) or send it to hhargitai @

Henrik Hargitai