The Venus Geologic Mappers' Handbook

Map Compilation, Review, and Publication

Careful, thorough map-compilation procedures help avoid inaccuracies; inconsistencies between the map, text, and DOMU; and an unbalanced portrayal of the geology. The use of general procedures and style guidelines established by the USGS for the submission, review, and editing of planetary maps will materially expedite review and publication of maps. In addition, discussions with and informal reviews by authors of adjacent maps permit amicable and informal resolution of differences before a map is submitted. A USGS convention requires that map borders match those of neighboring maps submitted earlier, and texts should agree with neighboring texts, unless the author of the later submittal explicitly justifies the differences.


VMAP mappers will compile their work on a mylar (stable-scale) base registered to a quadrangle base at 1:5,000,000 scale; corner points will be marked or holes registration punched. A subdued half-tone version (or "brownline") of the map base on mylar will be supplied for drafting map contacts and symbols. Other available image databases, including left- and right-look SAR mosaics, altimetry (including synthetic stereopairs), and emissivity data, will be supplied to the mapper. Geologic mappers must prepare not only the geologic map but also supplementary charts, figures, and text that include (1) a correlation chart, (2) a discussion of the geologic history of the map area, including specific results and interpretations of stratigraphy, structure, and other geologic features and relations (with a reference list and optional acknowledgments, figures, and tables), and (3) a description of map units and symbols. Cross sections and supplemental, special-purpose maps (generally at reduced scale) are optional. Supplemental information about the map base (including an index map, scale, and cartographic notes on base) are not the author's responsibility; they are added by USGS cartographers and drafters.

Mapping is compiled on the half-tone cronaflex quadrangle base. The emulsion is on the back side of the cronflex, so that erasures of drafted work on the front side do not affect the mosaic. Preliminary reconnaissance mapping on a paper print or mylar overlay prior to final compilation on the brownline base can be very helpful. The submittal copy on the cronaflex base should be drafted in ink. The line weight for major structures should be clearly heavier than that used for contacts, but minor structures can be shown in a light line weight. Prior to submittal, the mapper should color a paper ozalid or photocopy of the brownline to ensure proper and complete labeling of units. At the same time, all intersections of three map units should be checked; contacts should be drawn to reflect correct relative age (younger rock units should embay older ones; erosional geomorphologic units should crosscut the eroded units). Coloring the younger units first will readily expose any mistakes in the portrayal of overlap relations. Every outcrop is given a letter symbol; not only are these labels helpful to reviewers, but they prevent drafting errors. (Later on, the colorproof and published map will not bear so many labels because "color carries," but at compilation stage the extra precautions are necessary.) Also, the positions of all line and point symbols have to correspond precisely with the location of the feature on the base (the drafters will attempt to follow precisely the author's linework). Other illustrations involving map units (correlation chart, special maps, figures, and cross sections) should also be colored and checked for similar errors and inaccuracies; for example, cross sections have to match the map at the surface and mapped stratigraphic relations must agree with those shown in the correlation chart.

The author should also carefully check for consistency among the map, illustrations, and explanation and text. Many times unit occurrences are discovered to be incompletely described or unit names and symbols inconsistently rendered. Another common inconsistency is to make lengthy one-sided arguments regarding the interpretation of a few units or structures. A more complete listing of common problems in geologic maps is given by Wilhelms (1990, section 7.4.9).

USGS manuscript-preparation guidelines should be followed. Extensive changing of the format of your manuscript to adhere to guidelines after preparing it can be a frustrating experience. Instructions for the format of map texts and DOMUs are provided in Appendix D.

Pay particular attention to following telegraphic style for the explanation, in which both definite and indefinite articles and forms of the verb "to be" are omitted and the map unit is understood as the primary subject. The unit's characteristics should be described first, from primary to secondary ones, followed by geographic occurrence (if not obvious on the map) and relations and associations with other units. Finally, the interpretation is set off at the end. For example:

Ridged plains material--Forms smooth plains marked by northeast-trending wrinkle ridges; fractures and flow lobes rare; generally radar dark. Overlaps highly fractured unit of Artemis Chasma; buried along south edge by lobate plains material. Interpretation: Low-viscosity lava flows erupted from local fissures; deformed by compressional stresses related to development of Artemis Chasma

Mappers will also benefit from familiarizing themselves with relevant guidelines in Hansen (1991): "Preparing Maps and Other Illustrations" (p. 184-211) and "Formatting Survey Manuscripts for Review and Editing" (p. 250-264). The first of these sections provides guidelines primarily for terrestrial maps, thus it is advisable to examine recent planetary maps for format and style unique to them. Some informative examples are the geologic maps of (1) the western equatorial region of Mars (Scott and Tanaka, 1986), which has an extensive and complex correlation chart; (2) Valles Marineris (Witbeck and others, 1991), which is laid out over two sheets and has cross sections; and (3) Olympus Mons (Morris and Tanaka, in press), which has a special map at enlarged scale on a topographic base, text in pamphlet form, cross sections, and extensive figures. In regard to formatting, pay particular attention to the sections on general guidelines, formatting tables, and references cited. (More detailed guidelines for preparing references and a list of examples are given on p. 234-241 of Hansen, 1991.) Careful authors will also study the section on grammar, style, and wording entitled "Suggestions as to Expression" (p. 124-183); this is a misnomer, however, because "suggestions" commonly translates to "orders"! Finally, for the perfectionist who would like to prepare near-camera-ready copy, the Map Coordinator can supply you with a guide to all the formatting instructions used on USGS I-Series maps.

Submittal, Review, and Editing

After your map and accompanying materials have been prepared according to the above guidelines, you must include in your submission (1) the "Manuscript Review and Approval Sheet" (reproduced in Hansen, 1991, p. 38-39), and (2) the "Submission Check List for Planetary Geologic Maps" (Appendix E). The first item, also known as the "route sheet," is used to track USGS products and must accompany them through all prepublication stages. The author completes the top half of the front of the sheet; the Map Coordinator completes the bottom half. An individual's signature on the route sheet signifies that the individual is finished with his/her particular processing step. If a person first initials the route sheet, he or she is indicating the need for a second review prior to further processing; the author cannot send the map on to the next person named on the route sheet until the previous individual's signature is obtained, unless the Map Coordinator decides otherwise. Although the Chief of the Branch of Astrogeology is required to sign the map at the beginning and end of processing, the Map Coordinator effectively acts as editor-in-charge.

Reviews include a preliminary format review by the Map Coordinator, who will ensure that the submitted materials are in reasonably good order according to the items on the submission check list. Careful attention to these items will greatly speed up the overall review and editing process and will allow technical reviewers to concentrate more on content rather than format. The Coordinator will then pick two technical reviewers (preferably two who are in the VMAP program). Each mapper will be expected to serve as a technical reviewer on two maps. Each review will include a completed "Technical Reviewer's Checklist for Planetary Geologic Maps" (Appendix F). For maps of average or high complexity, a chief reviewer will be assigned who will be required to color the map to assure a thorough review. (Additional suggestions for map reviewers are given by Wilhelms, 1990, p. 257-258, and in Hansen, 1991, p. 230-233.) When you are given a map to review, it takes priority over your own work! If an author so requests, the Map Coordinator will advise him/her how to respond to the reviews, particularly for the author's first VMAP map.

Next, the USGS editor will check all material for consistency (internal and external) and for correct English, format, and style. The author will be responsible for producing the revised copies; the final copy, which the drafter will use, is known as the mill copy. It includes the brownline, a neat colored paper copy of the brownline (these two should be consistent), a colored correlation chart, any map overlays, illustration and figure originals, an electronic copy of the map text information on floppy disk, and hard copy of this text. USGS maps require "Author's Check List for Plates, Figures, and Photographs" for each illustration (reproduced in STA7, p. 188-189); these forms serve as work orders for the map drafter. Finally, the author will include a brief abstract (<75 words) for "New Publications of the Geological Survey" (follow exactly the format of the example in Hansen, 1991, p. 251).

Finally, the mill copy is submitted for approval by the Director of the USGS. Upon approval, an "I" number is assigned, the map is considered to be "in press," and the Office of Scientific Publications (OSP) of USGS in Flagstaff is given authorization to produce the map. The author or Map Coordinator may be questioned by OSP regarding line work, symbols, layout, unit colors, registration, geographic names, etc. A color proof will eventually be produced for checks by the author, USGS editor, and Map Coordinator.

One last note: a map cannot be cited in a USGS publication until it has been approved by the USGS Director and has an "I" number; if a mapper needs to refer to a colleague's work that has not yet received an "I" number, he/she should write "work in progress in the _____ quadrangle by Doakes (1994) suggests that..." or "map relations in the _____ quadrangle (Doakes, work in progress, 1995) indicate that..." These examples do not appear in Refences Cited, because they are not accessible to the reader.

Mappers' Handbook
Table of Contents
Planetary Geologic Mapping
USGS Astrogeology Research Program NASA