Catalogue of planetary maps, past and present, highlights our evolving view of our Solar System
September 21, 2018

Catalogue of planetary maps, past and present, highlights our evolving view of our Solar System

A catalogue that provides an overview of over 2,200 planetary maps produced worldwide between 1600 and 2018 was presented today at the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) 2018 in Berlin. The catalogue has been produced by Henrik Hargitai, from Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest (Hungary), and Mateusz Pitura, from the University of Wroclaw (Poland).

“Production of planetary maps started in Europe in the 1600s. It expanded to the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1960s and, more recently, has spread to China and Japan,” said Hargitai. “Over time, mapping has become less coordinated and more diverse, so that today it is becoming challenging to oversee the proliferation of spatial data published in different countries by institutions, individual researchers and, increasingly, citizen scientists. A common database is needed.”

To provide this definitive overview, Hargitai and Pitura have created the open access “International Catalogue of Planetary Maps”, available at http://planetarymapping.org and through the International Cartographic Association’s Commission on Planetary Cartography. The data can be filtered by author, year, country, scale, type and reveal long-term trends in planetary mapping and planetary science activities. Recent web-based map services, such as MoonTrek by NASA/JPL/Caltech or OpenPlanetaryMap’s vector basemap of Mars are organized into layers so that the user can view and analyse planetary surfaces in detail with Geographic Information System (GIS) tools. Most of the maps in the cataloguepresent Mars (40% of all maps) and the Moon (46%) whereas mapping of Venus (5%), Mercury (2%) and the Jovian moons (4%) has produced many less examples. Around 20% of all maps are geologic maps that represent the most complex planetary cartographic analysis.

“Our catalogue is being updated regularly with both newly resurfaced historic maps and new additions. For the future, we plan to add maps that have been published in journal articles and digitize maps that do not yet include GIS formats,” added Hargitai. “We live in a transition period where static maps that characterized the last 400 years may become extinct, replaced by dynamic digital map services and tools. In the digital platforms it is becoming difficult even to define what we consider to be a ‘map’, and not just layers of spatial data. Maps are used for mission planning, surface operation, and post-mission analysis. In the near future, they will be key components of planning and operating new human missions.”

Images

Details of four maps representing planetary maps with different themes, goals and eras. 1647: One of the first detailed telescopic maps of the Moon, with an Earth-like representation (J. Hevelius: Selenographia). 1824: the first segmented lunar map with topographic and albedo details of the Moon, using hachures (W. Lohrman: Topographie der sichtbaren Mondoberflaeche, Dresden). 1960: the first astrogeologic map of the Moon, the Lunar Photogeologic Chart (LPC 58) that introduced stratigraphic methods to planetary mapping (EM Shoemaker, RJ Hackman, USA). 2016: Map of Charon designed for children, representing a new type of outreach maps (A. Gyöngyösi, Hungary).

Contacts

Dr Henrik Hargitai
Eötvös Loránd University
Budapest
Hungary
hhargitai@gmail.com

Media Contacts
Anita Heward
Europlanet/EPSC 2018 Communications Officer
anita.heward@europlanet-eu.org

Livia Giacomini
Europlanet/EPSC 2018 Communications Officer
livia.giacomini@europlanet-eu.org

Notes for Editors

EPSC 2018
The European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) 2018 (www.epsc2018.eu) is taking place at the Technische Universität (TU) Berlin, from Sunday 16 to Friday 21 September 2018. EPSC is the major European annual meeting on planetary science. Around 1000 scientists from Europe and around the world will attend EPSC 2018 and will give around 1,250 oral and poster presentations about the latest results on our own Solar System and planets orbiting other stars.

Details of the Congress and a full schedule of EPSC 2018 scientific sessions and events can be found at the official website: http://www.epsc2018.eu/

About Europlanet
Europlanet provides Europe’s planetary science community with a platform to exchange ideas and personnel, share research tools, data and facilities, define key science goals for the future, and engage stakeholders, policy makers and European citizens with planetary science.

The Europlanet Society, launched in September 2018, is a membership organisation to promote the advancement of planetary science and related fields in Europe. It is the parent organisation of the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC).

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