2017 in Review 3: New Planetary Citizen Maps

Citizen scientist maps should deserve more attention, they are not just another renderings of already-known images but beautifully crafted high quality (and resolution) cartographic products.

The Goddesses of Venus

by Eleanor Lutz (USA)

A continuation of the Medieval map of Mars project, this unusual map takes you to the land of goddesses.



Maps of Mercury

by atlas-v7x (DeviantArt)  (New Zealand)

This series of Mercury maps show Mercury as no one has seen it before. These maps use MESSENGER topographic and color albedo data alone and combined. Nomenclature is dual, blue names are albedo features, white ones are topographic.





Craters of the Moon

by atlas-v7x (DeviantArt)  (New Zealand)

This thematic map shows the topography of the Moon with crater names accompanied with little flags that show the nationality of the person the crater was named after.



The Planet Venus / Venus – Map of Craters

by atlas-v7x (DeviantArt) (New Zealand)

Generic map of Venus, based on old Magellan radar altimeter data, with a fresh, terrestrial look. The Venus crater map looks as if it was taken from a School Atlas. Very Earth-like colors of very alien world with a random distribution of impact craters symbolized with little suns, otherwise to small to show up at this scale.




47 Mars exploration zones for a future human mission

By Mateusz Pitura (Poland)

Did you know that Mars Exploration Zones still have no Wikipedia entry? Until a Wiki editor would discover that we have dozens of candidate human Mars mission targets, here is the map of these sites.



Titan Texture Map 8k

by FarGetaNik (DeviantArt) (Germany)

This map is at least as good as the new Google Earth Titan map and combines infrared equatorial coverage with polar radar swaths.  Dark areas show lakes at the poles and dunes at the equator.



Also this year:

Photomosaic Maps of Pluto 



Photomosaic Map of Io


Which one is your favorite planetary Citizen Map in 2017?

Vote for it: https://goo.gl/forms/LuvVr2uC5IwZsWEJ2


2017 in Review 2: New Planetary Geologic Maps

2017 brings us a couple of new geologic planetary maps. This year European groups published the same number of geologic/geomorphic planetary maps as the USGS. We present short descriptions of them and ask you to vote for your favourite map below.

Geologic Map of Meridiani Planum, Mars

by Brian M. Hynek and Gaetano Di Achille (USA)

The Meridiani Planum area is the landing site of the Opportunity rover. Authors of this map indicate that the map is using more recent orbiter data to “place rover’s findings in a broader context”. It can help evaluate the geologic and hydrologic histories of the Meridiani region.



Geology of the Shakespeare quadrangle (H03), Mercury

by Laura Guzzetta, Valentina Galluzzi, Luigi Ferranti & Pasquale Palumbo (Italy)

A map that is an improvement over the previous, Mariner10 based 35 years old map of the quadrangle, now using MESSENGER data. The region is characterized by three main types of plains materials and four basin materials (formations). This map classifies craters into 3 classes based on their degradation that is not comparable to the 5 classes in the previous map. The map will support the ESA/JAXA BepiColombo project.


2017_Geology of the Shakespeare quadrangle (H03)_Mercury

Geomorphological Map of Ius Chasma, Valles Marineris, Mars

by Krzysztof Dębniak, Daniel Mège & Joanna Gurgurewicz (Poland)

A major part of Valles Marineris, Ius Chasma, is rich in geomorphological features. The authors say that “The map displays 52 main geomorphological units of which some are further subdivided. They include both well-established features (e.g. spur-and-gully morphology on trough walls, landslide scars, and deposits), and newly reported landforms (e.g. alluvial fans with dendritic channels, moraines in western Ius Chasma).”



Bedrock and structural geologic maps of eastern Candor Sulci, western Ceti Mensa, and southeastern Ceti Mensa, Candor Chasma, Valles Marineris region of Mars

by Chris H. Okubo and Tenielle A. Gaither (USA)

Another map from Valles Marineris, which is a part of a large-scale project. On two sheets we can find elevation data maps, geologic maps, cross section, stratigraphic units and events, stereonet plots (showing poles to planes of discontinuities) and other visualizations.



Generic identification and classification of morphostructures in the Noachis-Sabaea region, southern highlands of Mars

by Trishit Ruj, Goro Komatsu, James M. Dohm, Hirdy Miyamoto & Francesco Salese (Italy)

This first morphostructural map of the Noachis-Sabaea region displays structures and forms (craters, grabens, faults, ridges) with correlation to geologic units in detail. According to the authors, the work is “the basis for making inferences about Noachian-Hesperian crustal activity, and provides information for further studies regarding the reconstruction of the evolutional history of the region.”



Geologic map of Ceres

by David A. Williams , Debra L. Buczkowski , Scott C. Mest , Jennifer E.C. Scully (USA)

This map is a global summary of the large Ceres mapping project which brought us 15 quadrangle maps. These maps are available in the Geologic Mapping of Ceres Special Issue of Icarus. The global geologic map is at a scale of 1:3 500 000, which shows that impact craters dominate the surface of this dwarf planet.



Which one is your favorite geologic map of 2017? Vote for it below:

2017 in Review 1: New Planetary Web Mapping Servers

2017 brought a boom in planetary online WMS services. We show you which new service can do what. 

The new Google map

Google worked closely with NASA the next corner in Silicon Valley to prepare the highest, 5m/px resolution global photomosaic of Mars in 2012 that even researchers used for browsing Mars, only available through Google Earth, but not in the web-based map. This year Google added a wealth of new layers, although nothing is published about the image sources or cartographic control. Perhaps at LPSC2018. The service “as is” but still provides the fastest planetary image browsing opportunity for the armchair scientist. Maps include clickable nomenclature. The uniqueness of Google maps is that they are original photomosaics you can’t find elsewhere.

Some of the additions include

  • a beautiful high resolution multiscale color map of Mercury, which shows albedo at low resolution and low-sun relief view when you zoom in, both MESSENGER data
  • a global radar view of Venus at full Magellan resolution
  • a so-so albedo view of the Moon
  • Mars is now a not very seamless but quite high resolution HRSC color mosaic with some gaps
  • Ceres is added but not Vesta
  • Color and multiscale mosaic for Ganymede and Callisto
  • Titan is a nicely rendered seamless infrared+radar view at high resolution
  • Pluto and Charon is also the highest resolution global mosaic in color
  • And mosaics for other outer solar system satellites



ESRI’s Solar System Atlas

The company behind ArcGIS, the most commonly used mapping software in planetary cartography, has published its online atlas from the layers also available for direct import into an ArcGIS project. Unlike for Google, credit is given for all image sources, but in this case mosaicking was not done by ESRI, but all maps were taken from USGS/NASA. This service is basically a tile service to quickly display existing data, including geologic maps.



Planetary Surface Portal / PSUP

This is a service from French university observatories (Paris Sud and Lyon), who made their OMEGA data available through this service. OMEGA (Observatoire pour la Mineralogie, l’Eau, les Glaces et l’Activit) is a hyperspectral imaging spectrometer developed in France, originally for a failed Russian mission, onboard the European Mars Express spacecraft. Mineralogical and albedo data can be viewed, and downloaded from the WMS along with some feature database layers.



Planetary Cesium Viewer

The Cesium technology based viewer from the Paris Sud University in France shows global mosaics for basically all major moons and planets in the Solar System, including the gas giants.  The maps can be viewed as globes or 2D flat maps. The code is open, and available on Github.


Open Planetary Map Mars Basemap v0.1

The OpenPlanetaryMap (OPM) project aims to develop a vector based Mars map that users can modify and personalize. This is a community-based project where planetary scientists can share their cartographic ideas. The map uses CARTO Builder and there are detailed instructions on how you can build your own map within this system. This is the first attempt to create a vector-based Mars basemap, which would bring fresh air into a raster-filled planetary mapping universe.



Moon Trek

The official NASA outreach/research map combo for the Moon, an online platform  for both enthusiasts and researchers. Numerous datasets, mapping and analysis tools are offered. Developed at NASA Ames and JPL in California.



And we did not list those WMS services that started before 2017…

Which one is your favorite? Vote for the best new planetary WMS in 2017: