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



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