Sunday, March 18, 2012

New Mars Map is Most Detailed Map Yet

mars geological map

So, I know this isn’t REALLY related to GPS (more just geology, really), but I saw this news story and just had to share it.

The U.S. Geological Survey has released a new map of Mars, with breathtaking detail and a fountain of useful information for future Mars residents. According to this article, the scientists who released the map were able to get such detail through combining years of information—more than 600 million individual altitude measurements—to map out the topography and geography of the red planet.

The description on the abstract published by the U.S. Geological Survey reads “This global geologic map of Mars, which records the distribution of geologic units and landforms on the planet’s surface through time, is based on unprecedented variety, quality, and quantity of remotely sensed data acquired since the Viking Orbiters.” So, apparently we’ve been working on this for quite a while.

The map is free for download, so feel free to let your inner geologist (or Mars Enthusiast) explore! The beautiful colors you see are indicative of different parts of the surface and when they were formed, and the little yellow dots are craters from meteors. The colors are explained on the right side of the map sheet, along with explanations about geography, history and more. The information contained is immense, but fascinating if you’re a map (or Mars) lover.

According to Popular Science, NASA scientists made their first global map of Mars in 1978, and a few other maps have been created since then, as more expeditions were sent to the red planet. The map includes geological studies conducted from the 1980s onward. Pretty impressive.


  1. Guess this is the kind of postings we can expect for now on. This is what you get when you put someone into an enthusiast website who is not a user nor an enthusiast. Don’t mean to be cruel but this is she will bring down the community that this website has grown into in a very short period of time with postings like this one.

    • I have to disagree Phil. I’ve seen plenty of postings about new GPS releases, etc. but I also love the “Just Geo” section of the weekly roundup, and I think this fits into that category. I like the variety. Keep it up Liz.

    • I am really sorry that you feel that way, Phil. We try our best to post relevant topics about new GPS releases and such–but I do try and get a little bit of variety occasionally, especially since it’s a Friday. It’s only been a couple weeks since I started, and I am still feeling my way around the site, so thank you for your feedback.

  2. I agree that without Rick, or another GPS enthusiast who’s knowledge is way beyond just enabling location services on a smartphone, then this site won’t ever be the same again. At the moment it is mostly an aggregation of press releases. However Liz has taken on the task with huge enthusiasm and is clearly investing a lot of effort and time so I wish her the very best and hope she isn’t feeling discouraged so far.
    With respect to this posting it is in the spirit of the old “Just Geo” section and Liz even prefaces it with a disclaimer! I don’t see that as a problem and I quite enjoyed reading it.

    • Thanks Robbie. Matt and I are still sort of trying to decide the best way to move forward with the website right now, so expect things to be a little bumpy for a bit while we get our bearings. Rich has built a wonderful website and community, and I don’t want to lose our readers, so I really appreciate all the feedback from everyone. I believe we’re in the process of getting everything switched over from Rich to Matt and I, so things have been a little slow as far as getting new devices to test and such (although I enjoyed playing around with the TomTom GO 500 immensely). I hope you and everyone stays with us during this transition, and I assure you that we’ll get it sorted out. Thanks again, and happy trails!

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