Poster presented to the ICA council meeting held in
Ottawa, Canada, August, 1999
Planetary Cartography Working Group of the International Cartographic
Working Group Co-Chairs:
James R. Zimbelman, Smithsonian Institution, USA, and
Kira B. Shingareva, Moscow State University, Russia
|This is a portion of a new simplified map of the
planet Mars, with explanatory text given in five languages on the
back of the map. It is the first map product generated through the
efforts of Commission members.
The Planetary Cartography Working Group was formally approved at the 1997
ICA meeting in Stockholm, so group activities are restricted to the last
two years of the present term. As of July, 1999, the working group consists
of 31 members representing 4 space-faring countries. A World Wide Web site
exists for the working group at http://airandspace.si.edu/research/ceps/ica.
Initial responses to a survey of planetary cartographic products throughout
the world were limited, so we are assessing how best to reach the global
audience that has interest in planetary cartography. A generalized map of
Mars with accompanying text in English, Russian, German, French, and Spanish
was generated and printed (in very limited quantities) by working group
members in 1999. We made some initial contacts with representatives of international
organizations involved in space exploration, which will be the primary source
for all future information directly applicable to planetary cartography.
The working group met at least once each year: the first official meeting
was held during the June, 1997 ICA conference in Stockholm, and working
group meetings were subsequently held in June, 1998, in Munich, Germany,
and in May, 1999, in Moscow, Russia.. We have started collecting an international
glossary of terms used in planetary cartography but which can have diverse
interpretations in different languages. All of these efforts represent only
the first stages of what we envision will be an expanding list of activities
to address the goals of the working group.
Terms of Reference for 1999-2003
Cartography is no longer confined only to our home planet. The overall theme
for this working group is the harmonization of international planetary cartography
efforts. Note that "harmonization" is not the same as "homogenization";
we are not advocating an effort to make all national programs look the same.
Instead, we are interested in facilitating the free interchange of ideas
and information between various national efforts, each of which incorporate
some component of planetary cartography. To progress toward this goal, we
propose the following terms of reference:
1. The promotion of all aspects of planetary cartography in an international
setting. In this effort, we identify three distinct but mutually supportive
uses for planetary cartographic materials: cartographic products used for
scientific research, materials intended for use in education, and materials
for public outreach. Each national effort will have its own unique mix of
these three uses, but we wish to encourage the growth of all three aspects
in each national program.
2. Documentation and analysis of the present status of planetary cartography
within the international community. This effort was started during the previous
term, but we intend to seek ways to solicit broader international participation
in the surveys.
3. Evaluation of possible methods to enhance harmonization of planetary
cartographic activities around the world. During the last term, we progressed
on the development of a map of Mars with marginal notes presented in several
languages. This map is nearing production, and we intend to explore how
multi-lingual planetary maps (and supporting documentation) can be used
effectively in several different countries. Our goal is to develop materials
that can help disseminate some of the wonders of planetary science to all
nations, not just the technological countries who are presently involved
in planetary exploration.
4. Communication of conclusions and ideas with groups representing a wide
variety of international scientific and educational communities. We have
begun the process of identifying representatives from various interest groups
within the nations currently involved in space exploration. The goal is
to provide a mechanism to facilitate the free dissemination of information
between groups that utilize various aspects of planetary information, but
which may not be talking to each other effectively at present.
These terms will be addressed through the following list of proposed activities:
Proposed List of Activities for 1999-2003
1. Expand the World Wide Web site that was begun during the past term. The
web page (http://airandspace.si.edu/research/ceps/ica/)
currently contains only basic materials about the Working Group and its
goals. We intend to expand it to include links to web-based materials utilizing
planetary cartographic products, which now exist in various forms in several
nations. We also hope to make the Web site a place to share ideas, problems,
and solutions related to the widest possible dissemination of planetary
2. Continue to collect information on the global status of planetary cartographic
products and plans. This effort was begun during the last term in the form
of an e-mail and regular mail survey which produced interesting but limited
responses. We will investigate additional ways in which to compile information
about planetary cartographic holdings and uses throughout the world, the
results of which will eventually be made readily available over the Working
Group Web site.
3. Production of a multi-lingual series of planetary maps. This work was
begun last term with the development of a basic map of the physiography
of Mars with accompanying text in English, Russian, German, French, and
Spanish. We would like to eventually include Asiatic languages as well.
After preliminary assessments of the strengths and weaknesses of the Mars
map, we intend to pursue subsequent multilingual maps of other planetary
objects. It is our hope that these products will prove useful in disseminating
planetary information to nations and cultures that may, at present, not
have ready access to such information.
4. Expand liaison between the ICA, through the Working Group, and various
national or international space-related groups. This effort was begun during
the last term, but we recognize that many important agencies have not yet
been contacted. We intend to identify persons who can serve as points of
contact for inquiries about the activities or products available through
the various agencies.
5. Schedule at least one meeting per year where the Working Group members
can discuss issues face to face. In spite of the wonders of electronic information
technology, it is still important to schedule regular times where we can
meet and discuss issues in person. We will utilize the biannual ICA meetings
as opportunities for the Working Group to meet, with at least one meeting
annually during the intervening years at an institution of the various group
6. Expansion of a multilingual glossary of terms used in planetary cartography.
This effort was begun during the last term, but the number of terms and
languages is not yet representative of the need. The goal is to document
terms that have different uses in various national programs, which can at
times lead to confusion in the intended use of some products. An example
is ‘hypsometric’, which in Russian is equivalent to ‘topographic’ in English
and German usage. We believe that such a glossary could be helpful to a
wide range of potential users of planetary cartographic materials.