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(glossary entry)


Map-a-Planet is a web-based service hosted by the USGS Astrogeology Branch for creating on-demand images of solar system planetary surfaces (including Moons) for which imagery exists. In the case of the Earth's Moon, the maps can be generated either from real photographic data (such as Clementine images) or from artist's renditions (such as the Shaded Relief Map).

Additional Information

  • There are currently two slightly different Map-a-Planet sites.
    • The old site identifies itself as being part of NASA's Planetary Data System (PDS), and offers a more limited set of textures and functions.
    • The new site offers new textures (Near Infrared Enhanced Color and Lunar Orbiter Grayscale) as well as a number of capabilities not available on the old site. The new capabilities include a Search box on the home page (linked to here), into which one can enter any partial IAU name and retrieve a set of pre-set links for drawing the region(s) associated with those names in Shaded Relief. On the image display page there is also a new button that lists all the IAU features whose centers fall within the current field of view.
  • Both Map-a-Planet sites appear to be interfaces to the USGS's core MapMaker Web Map Service, which can also be accessed directly. the-Moon Wiki includes a MapMaker Link Generator tool (click on link and select Open rather than Save), which is an interactive JavaScript-enabled web page that will automatically generate links to MapMaker Web Map Service images based on your inputs of lunar latitude, longitude, and feature diameter. Such links can be pasted into the-Moon Wiki pages wherever an image is required. It also generates links to duplicate the image on the new Map-a-Planet page. Unlike the old site, all Map-a-Planet buttons appear to be functional, even when entered in this "backdoor" way.
  • There has historically been some problem with the selenodetic registration of the Clementine and Shaded Relief lunar imagery. A corrected version of the Clementine basemap has been available since late 2007. The new version of Map-a-Planet (but not the old one) offers both the problematic old Clementine basemap ("V1"), and a ULCN 2005 corrected one ("V2") that is apparently different from the 2007 version ("V2" was reportedly prepared in late 2008). The new Map-a-Planet also has a ULCN 2005 corrected global Lunar Orbiter mosaic. Coordinates read from the Lunar Orbiter mosaic or from "V2" of the Clementine basemap should be selenodetically correct. Those read from other map products may not be. - Jim Mosher

LPOD Articles

Unified Lunar Data Tool A New Standard