Astrogeology Science Center

This page provides information on the history of planetary cartography research and program planning for NASA. This has been a community-based effort driven by the need to develop and maintain a cartographic capability in support of NASA missions of space exploration. To comment or add to this page please contact Brent Archinal (barchinal@usgs.gov).

The goals are to:

  • Enabling the best possible science return from missions
  • Enabling exploration
  • Lowering costs or at least economy of scale
  • Fulfilling USGS Astrogeology’s role in advising NASA
Documents (reverse chronological order):
  1. B. A. Archinal, R. L. Kirk, L. R. Gaddis, J. Hagerty, J. Skinner, T. N. Titus, L. P. Keszthelyi, T. Hare, S. J. Lawrence, R. Beyer, A. Nefian, T. Fong, and T. Duxbury (2014).  “The Need for Lunar and Planetary Cartography Planning,” Annual Meeting of the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group, Laurel, MD, October 22-24.  Abstract no. 3029.   Abstract available as  http://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/leag2014/pdf/3029.pdf
    • Subject: NASA Lunar and Planetary Cartography Planning Needs, highlighting lunar needs and including a recommendation to the NASA Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG).
  2. Brent Archinal (2014) “The Need to Restart NASA Planetary Cartography Planning, NASA Planetary Science Division Presentation," October 21.  Presentation available as http://astropedia.astrogeology.usgs.gov/download/Docs/Cartography/NeedForCartographyPlanning-forPSD-20141021_final.pptx.  Accessed 2014 November 5.
    • Subject: Need to restart NASA Planetary Cartography planning, as presented to staff of the NASA Planetary Sciences Division.
  3. J. A. Skinner, Jr. (2014). “Planetary Geologic Mapping (PGM): An introduction to the process and product,” NASA Planetary Science Division Presentation, October 21.  Presentation available as http://astropedia.astrogeology.usgs.gov/download/Docs/Cartography/PlanetaryGeologicMapping_NASA-HQ_Oct21_2014.pdf.  Accessed 2014 November 5.
    • Subject: Overview of NASA Planetary Geologic mapping, including some community concerns.
  4. Brent Archinal, Randolph L. Kirk, Jürgen Oberst, Marita Wählisch, Irina P. Karachevtseva, and Thomas Duxbury (2014).  “The need for international planetary cartography planning and cooperation,” Scientific Event B0.8, Planetary Data Management and Exploitation, 40th COSPAR Scientific Assembly, no. B0.8-0003-14.  Presented by Jürgen Oberst on 2014 August 3.  Abstract available as  https://www.cospar-assembly.org/abstractcd/COSPAR-14/abstracts/B0.8-0003-14.pdf .  PowerPoint presentation available as  http://astropedia.astrogeology.usgs.gov/download/Docs/Cartography/Archinal-2014COSPAR-CartoPlanningNeed-presentation_mod.pptx  or Archinal-  http://astropedia.astrogeology.usgs.gov/download/Docs/Cartography/Archinal-2014COSPAR-CartoPlanningNeed-presentation_mod.pdf
    • Subject: International Planetary Cartography Planning Needs
  5. B. A. Archinal, R. L. Kirk, L. R. Gaddis, T. N. Titus, K. E. Herkenhoff, L. P. Keszthelyi, S. J. Lawrence, R. Beyer, and A. Nefian (2014).  “The Need for Planning the Future of Planetary Cartography,” Proceedings of the 45th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, 2014 March 17-21, The Woodlands, Texas, abstract no. 2466.  Available from  http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2014/pdf/2466.pdf.  Poster available as  http://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2014/eposter/2466.pdf.  Accessed 2014 April 4. 
    • Subject: NASA Cartography Planning Needs
  6. Ara V. Nefian, Julie Bellerose, Ross A. Beyer, Brent Archinal, Laurence Edwards, Pascal Lee, Tony Colaprete and Terry Fong (2014). “Mapping Needs for Human and Robotic Mission to Small Bodies,” NASA Small Bodies Assessment Group meeting, January 8-9, Washington, D.C. Available as http://www.lpi.usra.edu/sbag/meetings/jan2014/presentations/09_1135_Nefian_2014_01_09_sb_mapping_SBAG.pdf .  Accessed 2014 November 5.
    • Subject: Report on study and white paper (Nefian et al., 2013 below) regarding small body mapping needs.
  7. Astrogeology Science Center (2013).  “The Status of Cartography Planning for NASA,” submitted by L. Gaddis to L. Glaze, VEXAG chair, November 1.  Available from: http://astropedia.astrogeology.usgs.gov/download/Docs/Cartography/Carto-recommendations-USGS-for-VEXAG_Nov.1.13.zip.  (Zip password supplied separately - please email.)  
    • Subject: NASA Cartography Planning Needs
  8. Brent Archinal (2013).  “A Response to the Asteroid Initiative Request for Information,  NASA Solicitation Number: NNH13ZCQ001L,” July 18.  Available as: http://astropedia.astrogeology.usgs.gov/download/Docs/Cartography/AI-RFI-response-Archinal_USGS.pdf.
    • Subject: NASA cartography planning needs for asteroid exploration.
  9. Timothy N. Titus and Brent Archinal (2013).  “USGS – An Update on Integrated Software for  Imagers and Spectrometers (ISIS) as it Applies to Small Bodies and the Need for NASA Cartography Planning,” NASA Small Bodies Assessment Group meeting, July 10-22, Washington, D.C.   Available as:  http://www.lpi.usra.edu/sbag/meetings/jul2013/presentations/Titus.pdf.  See slides 11-27 regarding Cartography Planning.  Accessed 2014 April 4. 
    • Subject: NASA cartography planning needs, particularly for small bodies.
  10. Ara V. Nefian, Julie Bellerose, Ross A. Beyer, Brent Archinal, Laurence Edwards, Pascal Lee, Anthony Colaprete, and Terry Fong (2013).  “Human and Robotic Mission to Small Bodies: Mapping, Planning and Exploration - A Study for the Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Joint Robotic Precursor Activities (JRPA) Project”.  NASA/TM–2013–216538, White Paper, June 14.  Available from http://ti.arc.nasa.gov/publications/  (with search by author).  Accessed 2014 April 4. 
    • Subject: NASA cartography planning needs for small bodies.
  11. Brent Archinal, Randolph Kirk, Ken Edmundson, Mark Rosiek, Lisa Gaddis, Ara Nefian, Terry Fong, Ross Beyer, and Julie Bellerose (2013).  “The Need for NEO Close Mapping and Characterization,” in 2013 IAA Planetary Defense Conference, 15-19 April, Flagstaff, AZ, in press.  Abstracts no longer available - last accessed 2014 April 4. 
    • Subject: NASA cartography planning needs for NEOs.
  12. Randolph Kirk (2013).  “Why You're Lost in Space without High Level Cartographic Products,” presentation at LPSC Town Hall Meeting on Planetary Mapping and Cartography.  Available from http://astrogeology.usgs.gov/groups/lpsc-2013-planetary-mapping-town-hall  as file “LPSC13_Kirk_Lost.pptx”. 
    • Subject: Importance of planetary cartography.  Includes “recipe for good cartography” and “Challenges for the Future”.
  13. Intelligent Robotics Group, NASA Ames Research Center (2013).  “Planning for the Mapping and Exploration of Human and Robotic Missions to Small Bodies,” presentation at LPSC Town Hall Meeting on Planetary Mapping and Cartography.  Available from  http://astrogeology.usgs.gov/groups/lpsc-2013-planetary-mapping-town-hall  as file “Nefian_NEO-mapping.ppt”. 
    • Subject: Recommendations for cartographic processing for small bodies, and (strategic) knowledge gaps for small body mapping.
  14. Brent A. Archinal, Randolph L. Kirk, Lazlo P. Keszthelyi, Lisa R. Gaddis, and Mark R. Rosiek (2012).  “Can (and Will) the Data be Processed?  Technology Development to Address Science Questions,” International Workshop on Instrumentation for Planetary Missions (IPM-2012), Greenbelt, Maryland, October 10-12.  Abstract no. 1151.  Available as  http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/ipm2012/pdf/1151.pdf  .
    • Subject: Planetary instrument (calibration, design) and cartographic (geodetic control, algorithms, tool development, standards) needs.
  15. Brent Archinal (2012).  “Planetary Cartography Issues & Concerns,” from internal briefing to various NASA Planetary Science Division staff, October 8.  Available from: http://astropedia.astrogeology.usgs.gov/download/Docs/Cartography/AstroNASAHQ-SMD-201210_v4.zip .  (Zip password supplied separately - please email.)
    • Subject: NASA planetary cartography issues
  16. R. L. Kirk, E. Howington-Kraus, B. A. Archinal, L. P. Keszthelyi, and M. P. Golombek (2012).  “Landers and Rovers Need High Resolution Topographic Maps: Lessons from the NASA Mars Exploration Program,” Concepts and Approaches for Mars Exploration, June 12-14, Houston, Texas, abstract no. 4361.  Available at  http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/marsconcepts2012/pdf/4361.pdf.  Accessed 2014 April 4.
    • Subject: (Mars) landing site mapping needs and lessons learned.
  17. M. Milazzo, B. Archinal, R. Kirk, S. Akins, T. M. Hare, L. Keszthelyi, J. Anderson, and L. Gaddis (2012).  “Improved Data Processing Approaches for Future Mars Exploration Missions,” Concepts and Approaches for Mars Exploration, June 12-14, Houston, Texas, abstract no. 4351.  Available at  http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/marsconcepts2012/pdf/4351.pdf.  Accessed 2014 April 4.
    • Subject: NASA planetary cartography needs.
  18. L. Keszthelyi, C. Dundas, R. Fergason, B. Archinal, and R. Kirk (2012).  “Some Requirements for Future Orbital Assets to Support Safe and Productive Landed Missions,” Concepts and Approaches for Mars Exploration, June 12-14, Houston, Texas, abstract no. 4232.  Available at  http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/marsconcepts2012/pdf/4232.pdf.  Accessed 2014 April 4.
    • Subject: NASA needs for future Mars mapping datasets.
  19. R. L. Kirk, B. A. Archinal, L. R. Gaddis, and M. R. Rosiek (2012).  “Lunar Cartography: Progress in the 2000s and Prospects for the 2010s,” ISPRS Commission IV, IV/7 Planetary Mapping and Databases, XXII International Society for Photogrammetry & Remote Sensing Congress, Melbourne, Australia, August 25 – September 1.  Available as http://astropedia.astrogeology.usgs.gov/download/Docs/Cartography/ISPRS12_Kirk_Lunar_Mapping.pdf.
    • Subject: Lunar cartography and international lunar cartography needs.
  20. B. A. Archinal, R. L. Kirk, L. R. Gaddis, and M. R. Rosiek (2012).  “Unifying Lunar Topographic and Other Datasets,” Proceedings of the 43nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, 2012 March 19-23, The Woodlands, Texas, abstract no. 2394.  Available as  http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2012/pdf/2394.pdf.
    • Subject: NASA needs for lunar mapping.
  21. B. A. Archinal (2012).  “High-Value, Unified Lunar Topographic and Other Datasets,” The 6th KAGUYA (SELENE) Science Working Team Meeting, Nagoya, Japan, abstract.  http://astropedia.astrogeology.usgs.gov/download/Docs/Cartography/FutureLunarProcessing-marginforPDF.pdf.
    • Subject: International needs for lunar mapping.
  22. Committee on the Planetary Science Decadal Survey (2011).  “Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022,” The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C.  Available from https://download.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13117.  Accessed 2014 April 4.
    • Subject: Decadal survey for Planetary Science.  The survey unfortunately does not appear to address many of the concerns of the Johnson et al. white paper (listed below), but selected quotes related to planetary cartography follow: …planetary geologic mapping … [is one item that is] crucially important to NASA’s long-term science goals, and … require[s] funding. (p. 21).
    • R&A programs like planetary cartography are also critical for mission planning, ensuring that (for instance) cartographic and geodetic reference systems are consistent across missions to enable proper analysis of returned data. (p. 126).
    • Advancing understanding of the full range of surface processes operative on outer planet satellites requires global reconnaissance with 100-meter scale imaging of key objects, particularly Europa, Titan, and Enceladus as well as topographic data and high-resolution mapping (~10 meters/pixel) of selected targets to understand details of their formation and structure. (p. 227).
    • Development of standards for geodetic and cartographic coordinate systems should be encouraged, and these systems should be documented and archived within a NAIF/SPICE framework. (p. 288).
    • Geodetic studies of the rotation states of these bodies [Europa, Saturnian satellites, Triton] might provide additional constraints on ocean characteristics. (p. 238)
  23. B. A. Archinal, M. F. A’Hearn, E. Bowell, A. Conrad, G. J. Consolmagno, R. Courtin, T. Fukushima, D. Hestroffer, J. L. Hilton, G. A. Krasinsky, G. Neumann, J. Oberst, P. K. Seidelmann, P. Stooke, D. J. Tholen, P. C. Thomas, and I. P. Williams (2011).  “Report of the IAU Working Group on Cartographic Coordinates and Rotational Elements: 2009,” Cel. Mech. & Dyn. Ast., 109, no. 2, February, 101-135, doi 10.1007/s10569-010-9320-4.  Available from  http://www.springerlink.com/content/g272325h45517581/  or from  http://astrogeology.usgs.gov/search/details/Docs/WGCCRE/WGCCRE2009reprint/pdf.  Accessed 2014 April 4.
    • Subject: IAU Solar System planetary constants standards, and brief international planetary cartography recommendations (see Section 8).
  24. J. R. Johnson, B. Archinal, R. Kirk, L. Gaddis, J. Anderson, and the NASA Planetary Cartography And Geologic Mapping Working Group (PCGMWG, including B. Bussey, R. Beyer, L. Bleamaster, W. Patterson, J. Gillis-Davis, T. Watters, P. Schenk, and B. Denevi) (2010).  “The Importance of A Planetary Cartography Program: Status and Recommendations for NASA 2013-2023,” Planetary Science Decadal Survey White Paper.  Available from  http://www8.nationalacademies.org/ssbsurvey/publicview.aspx  (web page 4, document “JeffreyRJohnson.doc”).  Also available as  http://www.lpi.usra.edu/decadal/sbag/topical_wp/JeffreyRJohnson.pdf.  Accessed 2014 April 4.
    • Subject: NASA planetary cartography needs and recommendation “to create a long range planetary mapping and cartography plan” (page 8).
  25. B. A. Archinal and the Lunar Geodesy and Cartography Working Group (2009).  “Activities of the NASA LPRP Lunar Geodesy and Cartography Working Group,” Proceedings of the 40th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, 2009 March 23-27, The Woodlands, Texas), abstract no. 2095.  Available at  http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2009/pdf/2095.pdf.
    • Subject: LGCWG (currently on hiatus) support of lunar mapping standards.
  26. B. A. Archinal, R. L. Kirk, J. R. Johnson, L. R. Gaddis, and J. A. Anderson (2008).  “Planetary Cartographic Planning: Concerns and Possible Solutions,” from briefing to various NASA Planetary Science Division staff, November 14.  Available from: http://astropedia.astrogeology.usgs.gov/download/Docs/Cartography/AstroNASAHQ-SMD-201210_v4.zip.  (Zip password supplied separately - please email.). 
    • Subject: NASA planetary cartography issues, the need for cartography planning.
  27. R. L. Kirk, B. A. Archinal, L. R. Gaddis, M. R. Rosiek, E. Howington-Kraus, T. M. Hare (2008).  “What is Planetary Cartography? …and Why Does it Matter?” from briefing at NASA Headquarters, November 14.  Available from  http://astropedia.astrogeology.usgs.gov/download/Docs/Cartography/NASAHQ08_Kirk_WhatIsCarto.ppt.
    • Subject: Review of planetary cartography and its importance.
  28. NASA Advisory Council (2007).  Recommendation S-07-C-13 of the NASA Advisory Council to NASA Administrator Griffin, p. 14, see  http://bit.ly/x0HnnM  (formerly available at  http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/oer/nac/reccommendations/Recommend-5-07.pdf).  Accessed 2014 April 4.
    • Subject: NAC recommendation to geodetically control all lunar datasets.
  29. B. A. Archinal, L. R. Gaddis, R. L. Kirk, T. M. Hare, and M. R. Rosiek (2007).  “Urgent Processing and Geodetic Control of Lunar Data,” Workshop on Science Associated with the Lunar Exploration Architecture, Tempe, AZ, February 27 – March 2.  Available as  http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/LEA/whitepapers/ArchinalLEA07_Archinal_datacontrol.pdf.  Accessed 2014 April 4.
    • Subject: Urgent NASA needs for lunar mapping.
  30. T. M. Hare, M. R. Rosiek, B. A. Archinal, R. L. Kirk, and L. R. Gaddis (2007).  “Lunar Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Dataset Synthesis and Analysis,” Workshop on Science Associated with the Lunar Exploration Architecture, Tempe, AZ, February 27 – March 2.  Available as  http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/LEA/whitepapers/Hare_Lunar_GIS_lea2007_Hare.pdf.  Accessed 2014 April 4.
    • Subject: NASA needs for a lunar GIS system.
  31. B. A. Archinal (2006).  “Lunar Coordinates and Cartography: Coordinate System Establishment, Improvement, and Control (Registration) of Lunar Datasets, from Past, Present and Future U. S. and Foreign Missions,” response to NASA Request for Information (RFI): Developing a Strategy for Future Exploration of the Moon and Beyond, May 12.  Available as: http://astropedia.astrogeology.usgs.gov/download/Docs/Cartography/ESRFI-LunarCoordinates-%20Archinal.pdf .
    • Subject: NASA needs for lunar mapping.
  32. Randolph L. Kirk (2006).  “Image-Based Topographic Mapping of the Moon,” response to Request for Information (RFI): Developing a Strategy for Future Exploration of the Moon and Beyond, May 12.  Available as: http://astropedia.astrogeology.usgs.gov/download/Docs/Cartography/ESRFI_LunarTopo_Kirk.pdf.
    • Subject: NASA needs for lunar topographic mapping.
  33. Trent Hare (2006).  “Lunar Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Dataset Synthesis and Analysis,” response to Request for Information (RFI): Developing a Strategy for Future Exploration of the Moon and Beyond, May 12.  Available as: http://astropedia.astrogeology.usgs.gov/download/Docs/Cartography/ESRFI_GIS_Hare_May06.pdf. 
    • Subject: Recommendations for the creation of a Lunar GIS system.
  34. T. C. Duxbury, R. L. Kirk, B. A. Archinal, and G. A. Neumann (2002).  “Mars Geodesy/Cartography Working Group Recommendations on Mars Cartographic Constants and Coordinate Systems,” ISPRS, v. 34, part 4, “Geospatial Theory, Processing and Applications,” Ottawa.  See  http://astrogeology.usgs.gov/search/details/Research/ISPRS/Duxbury/pdf.  (Originally located at:  http://astrogeology.usgs.gov/Projects/ISPRS/MEETINGS/ottawa/index.html)  Accessed 2014 April 4.
    • Subject: MGCWG Mars coordinate system recommendations.
  35. T. C. Duxbury, R. Kirk, and B. A. Archinal (2001).  “Mars Geodesy/Cartography Working Group Recommendations on Mars Cartographic Constants and Coordinate Systems,” ISPRS WG IV/9: Extraterrestrial Mapping Workshop "Planetary Mapping 2001", virtual workshop.  See  http://astrogeology.usgs.gov/search/details/Research/ISPRS/isprs_etm_OCT01_duxbury_A_mars_constants/pdf  for on-line abstract.  Accessed 2014 April 4.
    • Subject: MGCWG Mars coordinate system and map product recommendations.
  36. Planetary Cartography Working Group (PCWG) (1993?).  “Planetary Cartography 1993-2003,” unknown publisher and publisher location.  Scanned 2014 March 31.  Available as: http://astropedia.astrogeology.usgs.gov/download/Docs/Cartography/PlanetaryCartography1993-2003.pdf.
    • Subject: Most recent completed 10 year NASA planetary cartography plan.
  37. The Planetary Cartography Working Group (PCWG) (1989).  “Planetary Cartography in the Next Decade: Digital Cartography and Emerging Opportunities,” NASA TM 4092, March.  Scanned 2014 April 7.  Available as:  http://astropedia.astrogeology.usgs.gov/download/Docs/Cartography/PlanetaryCartographyInTheNextDecade1989.pdf.
    • Subject: Update to initial 10 year NASA planetary cartography plan. 
  38. The Planetary Cartography Working Group (PCWG) (1984).  “Planetary cartography in the next decade (1984-1994),” NASA SP-475, Scientific and Technical Information Branch, Washington, D.C.  Scanned 2014 April 7.  Available as: http://astropedia.astrogeology.usgs.gov/download/Docs/Cartography/PlanetaryCartographyInTheNextDecade.pdf.
    • Subject: Initial 10 year NASA planetary cartography plan.
  39. R. M. Batson (1981).  “Status and Future of Extraterrestrial Mapping Programs,” NASA Contractor http://astropedia.astrogeology.usgs.gov/download/Docs/Cartography/StatusFutureETMapping.pdf.
    • Subject: Status and plans for planetary mapping.