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Topographic and Thematic Maps of the Red Planet

PIMap - The »Planetary Image Mapper"
Based on the imagery of the »High Resolution Stereo Camera« (HRSC) on »Mars Express« orbiter, the Technische Universität Berlin generates different types of maps in large scales. The standard product is the »Topographic Image Map Mars 1:200,000«. In order to automate the map
generation process, the cartographic software package »Planetary Image Mapper« (PIMap) has been developed.
This software generates the entire topographic map content. This comprises the ortho-image basis, contour lines derived from HRSC DTM, topographic names and grid-lines, as well as map titles and further marginal information. The resulting digital map sheets contain all raster and vector data in one PDF file, which can be printed on demand. Using PIMap, a variety of sheets of the standard series, some special target maps in larger scales, and also thematic maps have been produced so far.

Topographic Image Map Mars 1:200 000
As the standard product for mapping the planet Mars in large scales the new series »Topographic Image Map Mars 1:200,000« has been defined.
This map series was developed for optimum cartographic representation of HRSC data. It is based on HRSC orthoimages and features contour lines and topographic names. The Martian surface is covered in 10,372 individual sheets in equal-area projections: Sinusoidal Projection for latitudes between 85° north and south and Lambert Azimuthal Equal-Area Projection around the poles. While all map sheets cover 2° in latitude, the longitude extent increases from 2° in the equatorial zone towards 360° at the poles. Therefore, the mapped area is similar for all sheets (about 120x120 km2). Such standard sheets can easily be converted to special target maps in different scales. They also form a perfect basis for thematic mapping purposes.
In order to complete the Topographic Image Map Mars 1:200,000 series, data from the »Catalog of Large Martian Impact Craters« will be integrated. When finally revised, the catalog will provide topographic and geologic data on more than 40,000 craters. The link to this huge set of information will be established by labeling crater IDs in topographic maps.   
The suitability of HRSC data for mapping in such large scales has been successfully demonstrated.


This map is an example for a standard sheet in scale 1:200,000. Systematic mapping in larger scales, i.e. 1:100,000 and 1:50,000, can also be achieved by dividing standard sheets into quarters and sixteenth, respectively. The suitability of HRSC data for mapping in such large scales has been successfully demonstrated.
The official designation of this map from the Iani Chaos Region is »M 200k 0.00N/343.00E OMKT«. M stands for Mars, 200k for the scale 1:200,000, then follow latitude and longitude of the map center, and finally the letters OMKT indicating an Ortho-image Mosaic, color (K) and Topography (nomenclature and contour lines).

This map »Chasma Boreale Region«, in 1:200 000 scale, is situated around the planet’s north pole and is therefore mapped in Azimuthal Projection.

Thematic Maps
Several Thematic Maps have been generated in cooperation with other HRSC team members. Exemplary products are a geologic map of the Gusev crater region and a new approach of a combined topographic/thematic map illustrating the geomorphology of Centauri and Hellas Montes.


This thematic map project was realized in close co-operation between the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Berlin-Adlershof, providing photogrammetric processing, the Institute for Geosciences, Freie Universität Berlin for the geoscientific interpretation, and the Institute of Geodesy and Geoinformation Science, Technische Universität Berlin, responsible for cartographic design and production.


The index map illustrates that the map sheet »Chasma Boreale Region« is located at the 85° latitude boundary between the maps in Sinusoidal Projection and in Lambert Azimuthal Equal-Area Projection.

The »High Resolution Stereo Camera« (HRSC) on the ESA spacecraft »Mars Express« began operation in January 2004. The camera provides full color and multiple stereo image data – an excellent data set for potogrammetric and cartographic purposes. Detailed cartographic coverage of planet Mars is a major goal of the mission.

The experiment »HRSC on Mars Express« is guided by the Principal Investigator Professor Dr. Gerhard Neukum (Freie Universität Berlin). The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is responsible for photogrammetric processing of the image data. The Technische Universität Berlin contributes cartographic software development and the generation of maps.


Keywords: Cartography, Extra-terrestrial, Planetary cartography, Mars, High-resolution, DEM/DTM, Topographic Maps, Thematic Maps, Image Maps, HRSC.



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