Cartography and Perseverance through Mapping Mars

Mars Global Surveyor MOLA Topographic Map (via NASA)

Once you commit to explore, you may as well accept there’s no going back

Mars Revised Shaded Relief Map (1999 via USGS Astrogeology Science Center)

When it comes to maps, everyone’s a critic

Different map layers of Mars (left to right: hillshade, contour, relief)

Install GDAL, they said. It’ll be helpful, they said.

Mars Global Surveyor MOLA Topographic Map (via NASA)
  • To start, there are a whole set of world files that add a layer of georeferencing data, such as GeoTiff, but many filetypes that are used to simply house data, like CSV and XML are also used.
  • Most layers can be processed in QGIS from a single image containing elevation data (GEL), using GDAL. Larger files need to be broken down to process or upload, and tiling processes like gdaltranslate or exporting layers in QGIS to mbtiles will do the heavy lifting. Following me?
  • For raster files, styling needs to happen before export, where datasets and vectors can be styled within a tool like Mapbox or in the browser. Most of my earlier exports were rasters, which has quality limitations and little ability to style, but this is unavoidable for satellite imagery.
  • Also, there are tons of datasets out there. NASA, JPL and many other sources provide ftp access to their libraries, which are vast and incredibly documented. In fact, most of the conversions, nomenclature and datasets I needed from QGIS were found once I started digging in.
First full version of Mars available for use on Mapbox

So about that UI kit…

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