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

Annual Commission Meeting in September

This year’s annual commission meeting will take place connected to the European Planetary Science Congress event in Berlin, Germany.

Time: 0945 (meeting point)

Date: Wednesday, September 19,  2018.

Place: Meeting point: in front of the TU Berlin building (Hauptgebäude der Technischen Universität Berlin, Str. des 17. Juni 135, 10623 Berlin, Deutschland. (G87G+2Q Berlin, Deutschland). We will move to a meeting room from here.


If you are interested in participating, please come to the meeting point at 0945 or write to for more information.

Commisson members and non-members are all welcome.

Topics: Past, present and future projects of the commission; new commission members, new chair selection process, suggestions for new projects.


ICC2017 – The planetary program

Report of the ICA Commission on Planetary Cartography meeting at ICC2017 Washington
Chair: H. Hargitai

The meeting had 12+1 participants. The sessions included 7 planetary talks (plus two in the pre-conference workshop) and 4 posters.
We discussed the commission projects, including the children’s maps, EPO apps and projects, nomenclature issues and databases.
It was stated that the basic goal of the commission is not to resolve science questions but to facilitate visibility of planetary datasets for the terrestrial cartographers and produce EPO materials for students.
M. Pitura volunteered to further develop the commission’s WordPress website.
We agreed that the commission website will feature a “toolbox” for planetary EPO that will include the tools we presented during the meeting, including the desciption of enhanced ePub, game/city engine etc.
A. Nass talked about the need for a publication that helps mappers in planetary feature identification in images.
A. Jasper talked about the problems of nested placenames, and designation of subsurface features identified on radar data.
For the childrens maps, we talked about the need of better targeting age groups and defining the exact ways the map wants to engage readers and how the map could relate to the reader’s experience.
We agreed that a planetary map reading test will be made to find the best ways to depict an extraterrestrial surface that is understood by the readers. Placenames are important on a planetary map because they may be the only parts of the map that is relatable, i.e. has some familiarity to the map reader.
In future publications we will experiment with maps designed in familiar scales, i.e. city map, country map, continent map scales – increasing relatability.
We have discussed the possibilities of coordinated activities between our commission and the IAU Commission on Cartographic Coordinates & Rotational Elements.
We have discusses the possibility of new commission projects:
Open Planetary, an open source user interface to interact with Mars map, the “Martian open street map”
– Automated extraction of areas of interest of research papers
– enhanced ePub applications
– real life location based applications designed for Mars (etc) maps for smartphones
– creative identification of any point on a planet’s surface, that can be used by virtual explorers to identify their current location, and address or “three words”
– development of detailed astronomy club educational activities based on planetary cartographic products or the production of planetary maps
– new approaches to map styles, e.g. mapbox
– promote the inclusion of maps in astronomy apps like “Planets”
– Promote the inclusion of planetary maps in Atlases, with a good example the Swiss World Atlas
– verbal comparative description of an area to known units on earth (this place on Mars is 10 Spains)
– triggered by a talk by J. Reyes, we could develop a Mars Atlas based on the design of the School atlases of M. Kogutowicz.

There is no decision on next year’s meeting but it could be in Central Europe.
We have agreed that in Tokyo, a new chair has to be appointed.

Comments, ideas, projects from You? Send it to hhargitai @

Henrik Hargitai


Thursday, July 6, 2017
Location: Harding

12:30 PM – 1:20 PM

Power Point Presentation

2:50 PM – 3:50 PM
TECHNICAL SESSIONS – 6600s Planetary Cartography
Location: Harding
4:10 PM – 5:30 PM
TECHNICAL SESSIONS – 6700s Planetary Cartography

Location: Harding

New Pluto/Charon map for children

The perfect gift for your young scientist?
The new children’s map of PLUTO and CHARON.
The map will premiere on December 13 at the AGU meeting in San Francisco and will be available for download from the next day.
In the USA, we ship it to your home before the holidays.
Downloads of the full resolution map will be free before the holidays.
Other maps in the series:

Cartographic Visions of Mars

How do you chose your summer travel destination? Checking websites, asking friends? And how do you navigate there? Using road signs? Online maps on your smartphone? Offline maps on smartphone? Paper maps? GSP turned on? Trusting your instincts?

OK now how would you do this on Mars if you were a Mars Astronaut? The mission: explore an area 100 km in radius (the size of Maryland or Belgium). What’s worth studying? How do you get there? What if you lose power? What landmarks will you have? With no roads, no vegetation, but lots of craters, rocks and dust, you will need a good map designed for planning and navigating – a map that can save your life.

“Where the orbital maps indicated a smooth plain, there was instead a vast crater field and collections of truck-sized boulders.” (On the Apollo 11 landing)

And you want to avoid a situation like that, just seconds before landing, as it happened during the Apollo 11 mission.

apollo astronaut.jpg

Apollo astronauts had a “cuff checklist” booklet  (see image above).

Apollo 13 traverse map from cuff checklist. No battery, GPS or wifi were needed to operate it. 

On Mars, it will probably be different.

We asked students, GIS professionals and citizen scientists to design a map, or map elements that could be useful for the astronauts who will use them in… well, at least 25 years from now.

Here we show you a selection of the works and ideas we received in our Exploration Zone competition:

Hiking on Mars


Map (c) Mateusz Pitura

Mateusz Pitura showed Mars in golden ochre colors. The Hebrus Valles habitat is next to the rampart flow front of a crater ejecta. The author evaluated all routes according to their difficulties. It is a hiking map on Mars.

  • Easy – < 15 km long. No special preparations required. Possibility of surface dust and small craters. Slopes under 10 degrees.
  • Medium – 15 -30 km. Rocks, rock rubble, small craters, surface dust, troughs and slope above 10 degrees.
  • Hard – >30 km. Hazards inlcude steep slopes, >30 cm rocks which could be an obstacle for rovers, big rock formations, craters, surface dust, troughs, ice and depressions.

The Visor Map

Illustration (c) Jonathan Ocon

Jonathan Ocon mapped Acheron Fossae. Usually we use some hand-held device to view maps, but on Mars, you are already within a device, the space suit. So instead of a paper checklist fixed on your arm, as they did on the Moon, we could use augmented and virtual reality technology and project geospatial information onto the visor used as a screen. In this view, it displays all data about nearby potential targets, date, time, and overview map.

The Map of a New Home


Map (c) Eian Ray

This map by Eian Ray shows Eastern Valles Marineris. The map contains contour lines, points of interests and distances from the hab that could be the most important data to know when you leave the hab and want to return in time. The map also contains fictional names:  ” Not only will this encourage mental and emotional continuity by exposing the mission participants to names of places they are already familiar with, but it will help foster a sense of place as the astronauts begin to develop a geospatial awareness of their new Martian home. … It softens the difficulties faced by those who’ve settled in a new land, while drawing new explorers to an unfamiliar land with visions of familiar sights and sounds, real or imagined” – Ray says. 

Showing directions and places of other landing sites is a unique feature of this map. ” In the unfamiliar environment of the Martian landscape, I wanted to create a sense of place for the explorers. – Ray explains –  On Mars there will be no place, culture, people, food, sights or smells that can provide this context. The life-support and equipment that accompany them will be intimately familiar to the explorers, but even these objects won’t fill many of the social, emotional, and geospatial needs firmly planted in our psyches through an Earthly evolutionary process. There are no sources of security, no places of refuge, and no ability to let one’s guard down. … To mitigate feelings of isolation and potential psychological distress I decided it was important to illustrate the bearings and distance from the landing site to all human activity on the planet. This is intended to convey to the astronauts that they are a part of something larger, something on-going, something that is connected and provides continuity to the rest of humanity despite
being 225 to 400 million kilometers from Earth. Similar to maritime maps of the New World during the 16
th century that included Europe and northwest Africa as reference points, this map includes significant historical places to provide the same geospatial context.”

Less is more

Map (c) Camillo Battistioli

Camillo Battistioli mapped Acheron Fossae. These maps don’t want to achieve photorealistic representation, instead, it shows the surface in a simplified way: contour lines become elevation slices, shades of brows show height and a grid helps our sense of distance.  The pathways are clear and simple, and a perspective view helps familiarize with the target area at a single glance. This happens when cartography, science and art meets.

All-in-one App for Mars

Illustrations (c) JJ Moran

Map data are just one of the many things Astronauts should know here and now. 3D spatial data, live streams of weather conditions – dust storms, approaching dust devils, potential or existing fog or CO2 frost -, health data can hugely affect the mission. It is also good to see what other astronauts – and robots – are doing. Astronauts likely won’t need to download apps from an appstore: they will have all in one. JJ Moran‘s app made with the Unity game engine shows a preview of what this app will look like. “After conceptualizing several possibilities it was decided that from an astronaut’s perspective, it would be best if the map product could be integrated with an existing GUI. This GUI could hypothetically be a single interface the astronauts could use for communications, mission updates, and map data.” – JJ says.

Map of Libraries on Mars


We are proud to present the Map of Libraries on Mars.

If you happen to land on Mars and feel bored, perhaps terribly bored, and lonely, too – no worries! Just go and find the Phoenix Lander equipped with the First Library on Mars. This unique facility offers books, and its multimedia collection includes radio broadcasts, artworks, and greetings from prominent space scientists.

The full catalog of the library is below.

Attention, astronauts! Please, return the borrowed items within 2 weeks. Multimedia items cannot be renewed, sorry.

For a high resolution Map of Libraries of Mars, click here.

Ah, yes. We had some budget cuts so you have to bring your own DVD-ROM player. Sorry about the inconvenience this may cause.


Handle with care!     Hand by author. DVD by Planetary Society.


The Catalog of the First Library on Mars.

Book collection

Author Title Date
Abe Kobo The Special Envoy
Aitmatov, Chingiz The Day Lasts More than 100 years 1983
Aldiss, Brian The Difficulties of Photographing Nix Olympica 1986
Anderson, Poul The Martian Crown Jewels 1958
Aramaki Yoshio Soft Clocks
Arnold, Edwin L. Gulliver of Mars (excerpt) 1905
Ash, Fenton A Trip to Mars (excerpt) 1909
Asimov, Isaac I’m in Marsport Without Hilda 1957
Asimov, Isaac The Martian Way 1952
Asimov, Isaac The Romance of Mars (excerpt) 1971
Bear, Greg A Martian Ricorso 1976
Ballard, J.G. The Time Bomb 1963
Benford, Gregory All the Beer on Mars 1988
Binder, Eando Via Etherline 1937
Bogdanov, Alexander Red Star 1908
Bova, Ben Mars 1993
Brackett, Leigh 2038:  The Road to Sinharat 1963
Bradbury, Ray The Martian Chronicles 1950
Brown, Fredric The Last Martian 1950
Burroughs, E.R. A Princess of Mars (excerpt) 1917
Clarke, Arthur C. Transit of Earth 1951
Clarke, Arthur C. The Sands of Mars 1951
Delany, Samuel High Weir 1968
Derleth, August The Martian Artifact 1957
Dick, Philip K. We Can Remember It for You Wholesale 1966
Dick, Steven Back to the Future 1993
Disch, Thomas The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars (excerpt) 1988
Dorsey, Candas Jane Johnny Appleseed on the New World 1985
Dunsany, Lord Mars on the Ether 1937
Eco, Umberto I tre cosmonauti 1989
Fast, Howard The Martian Shop 1959
Friedman, Louis Afterword to Visions of Mars 1996
Gallun, Raymond Z. Old Faithful 1934
Greg, Percy Across the Zodiac (excerpt) 1880
Harrison, Harry One Step from Earth 1970
Hillegas, Mark R. Martians and Mythmakers:  1877-1938 1970
Hoyle, Fred The Martians 1967
Ishikawa Takashi The Road to the Sea
Kazantsev, Alexander The Martian 1962
Kazantsev, Alexander A Visitor from Outer Space 1962
Kline, Otis Adelbert The Swordsman of Mars (excerpt) 1933
Koch, Howard The Panic Broadcast 1970
Lasswitz, Kurd Auf Zwei Planeten (excerpt) 1897
Le Rouge, Gustave Le prisonnier de la planet Mars 1908
Lowell, Percival Mars as the Abode of Life (excerpt) 1909
McDonald, Ian The Catharine Wheel 1983
Merril, J. Kornbluth C. Outpost Mars 1952
Miller, P. Schuyler The Cave 1934
Mitsuse Ryu The Sunset, 2217 A.D.
Moorcock, Michael Mars 1988
Moore, C.L. Dust of Gods 1934
Newman, Kim Famous Monsters 1988
Niven, Larry The Hole Man 1973
Owen, Tobias Science versus Fiction 1993
Piper, H. Beam Omnilingual 1957
Pohl, Frederik The Martian Star-Gazers 1962
Pope, Gustavus W. Journey to Mars (excerpt) 1894
Robinson, Kim Stanley Green Mars 1985
Rosny, J. Heinz Les navigateurs de l’infini 1925
Russell, Bertrand Planetary Effulgence 1961
Sagan, Carl Cosmos (excerpt) 1980
Schiaparelli, Giovanni Report on Canali 1877
Serviss, Garrett P. Edison’s Conquest on Mars 1898
Shklovskii, Iosef Are the Moons of Mars Artificial Satellites? 1966
Simak, Clifford Hermit of Mars 1939
Sinisalo, Johanna PunatShti 1990
Stapledon, Olaf Last and First Men (exerpt) 1930
Steele, Allen Live from Mars Hotel 1988
Stoff, Joshua The Voyage of the Ruslan 1986
Strugatsky, A. & B. The Second Invasion from Mars 1979
Sturgeon, Theodore The Man Who Lost the Sea 1959
Sturgeon, Theodore The Martian and the Moron 1949
Swift, Jonathan Gulliver’s Travel 1726
Tolstoi, Alexei Aelita 1922
Van Vogt, A.E. Enchanted Village 1950
Varley, John In the Hall of the Martian Kings 1976
Voltaire Micromegas 1752
Vonnegut, Kurt The Sirens of Titan (excerpt) 1959
Watt-Evans, Lawrence Windwagon Smith and the Martian 1989
Weinbaum, Stanley G. A Martian Odyssey 1934
Wells, H.G. The War of the Worlds (excerpt) 1889
Wicks, Mark To Mars Via the Moon (excerpt) 1911
Williamson, Jack Nonstop to Mars 1939
Zelazny, Roger A Rose for Ecclesiastes 1963


Multimedia collection

Title Year
Introduction to Mars Radio 1996
War of the Worlds 1938
Wells and Welles 1940
The Viking Landings 1976


Artwork collection

Artist Title Year
Frank R. Paul Martian Science Fiction
Iwasaki Kazuaki Twin Peaks
Peter Kovalev Olga Kovaleva Experiment
Paul Fouché Le lever du soleil sur les canaux de Mars 1884
Alvim-Correa Martian Fighting Machines 1898
W. R. Leigh The Things that Live on Mars 1908
Artist Unknown The First Message from Mars 1909
Winsor McCay Little Nemo in Slumberland 1910
Frank Schoonover A Princess of Mars 1917
Artist Unkown Aelita 1924
Lucian Rudaux Les dÄsertiques sur Mars 1928
Universal Pictures Mars Attack the World 1936
Artist Unknown A Martian at his Radio Set 1937
Allen Anderson Queen of the Martian Catacombs 1949
Clifford N. Geary Red Planet 1949
Richard Powers Outpost Mars 1952
Wally Wood Weird Science 1953
Chuck Jones I claim this planet in the name of Mars! 1953
Chesley Bonestell Mars from Deimos 1953
Chesley Bonestell Arrival at Mars Orbit 1953
Frank Kelly-Freas Martians Go Home! 1954
Alex Schomburg Secret of the Martian Moons 1954
Ed Emschwiller Follow Me … 1955
Paramount Pictures Corporation Robinson Crusoe on Mars 1964
Andrei Sokolov Alexei Leonov Cosmosdrome on Phobos 1970
Andrei Sokolov Alexei Leonov Approaching Mars 1970
Rick Sternbach “Special Velikovsky Issue” of analog magazine 1976
Ludek Pesek Approaching Dust Storm on Mars
Vincent di Fate The War of the Worlds 1978
Donald E. Davis Mars from Deimos 1978
Anne Norcia Valles Marineris 1978
David A. Hardy Terraformed Mars from Base on Phobos 1982
Ezra Orion Proposal for sculpture on Mars 1982
Roger Dean The War of the Worlds 1984
Robert T. McCall Pioneering the Space Frontier
Vyacheslav Davidov Phobos mission 1987
Arthur Gilbert Phobos Encounter 1987
Jon Lomberg East Meets West (and Goes to Mars) 1987
William K. Hartman Aerial View of Mars 1988
Pamela Lee Together to Mars 1988
Michael Whelan The Martian Chronicles 1989
Paramount Pictures Corporation Enterprise Dedication Plaque 1989
Lilika Papanicolaou Sunset on Mars 1989
Adam Hughes Mark Nelson Martian Manhunter 1990
Paul Maker David Scharf Nanolithograph of Viking lander 1991
Beth Avary Together… 1991
Ron Miller Dust Devils on Mars 1992
Michael Carroll Russian Rover 1992
Paul Hudson Where Next, Columbus? 1992
Carter Emmart Farewell Tom, We Yield Not 1992
Don Dixon Red Mars 1993
Carlitos Cruz Peace of the Worlds 1993
Greg Cooper The Moon over Mars 1993
Dominic Terlizzi 1993
James Yeh A Sunrise at Olympus Mons 1993
Courtney Wilson Aliens of the Future 1993
Aaron Madriaga The Dawn of a New Era 1993
Neil Lande Mars Observers 1993
Samina Ashrof 1993
Margo Anderson Mars in Space 1993
Daniel McConnell Mars of Tomorrow 1993A6A1:D66
Peter Zorin Mars Rover 1993
Dusty Duvall Mars City 1993