Ralph Aeschliman Planetary Cartography and Graphics


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Anticipating the favorable Mars opposition of 1986 I used U.S. Geological Survey maps as source material to craft a small globe of Mars. While doing so I developed great respect for the work of the airbrush cartographers who made the maps. In 1990 I began work as an airbrush cartographer with the USGS Astrogeology group in Flagstaff, Arizona. During my eleven years at the USGS use of the airbrush gave way to computer graphic techniques. My work included making maps of Mars, the `Irregular Satellites' of the solar system, mapping and developing methods for mapping Venus, and other mapping and illustration projects including the diagrams, several illustrations and the collage used for the cover of the NASA Atlas of the Solar System (Cambridge). I am now a free-lance cartographer. My maps appear as endpapers for the book, Mapping Mars, by Oliver Morton (Fourth Estate, London), and in magazine articles including WIRED (9/02), Sky and Telescope (6/03), Astronomie Heute (12/03), Focus (1/04) and Stern (1/04). The Mars Space Flight Facility has used my maps in images for animations for NASA TV, the Space Telescope Science Institute (Hubble) is using them for a multimedia presentation on Mars, and the Planetarium of Madrid will be using the Mars Lambert's projections for a program on Mars. I have just finished working on a digital Atlas of Mars which is available NOW. The online Atlas of Mars is a low resolution version of just one of the map series in the digital atlas.

The Lunar section includes new hemispheric maps of the near side of the Moon, the 120 degree west meridian, and the 120 degree east meridian. Also, a map of the Apollo 17 mission to the Taurus- Littrow Valley. The traverse map is linked to panoramic QT virtual reality movies I made at the USGS. You will need to have a QuickTime reader installed to view them. There is also a link to the USGS Lunar map series.

There are new maps of Venus based on data from the Pioneer and Magellan missions to Venus. These new maps endeavor to make this strange and inhospitable world easier to understand.

doodles is a little book of collected drawings that happened while making airbrush maps. They grew from marks made while testing the airbrush. I added the poems later. The e-book is now available to download for a mere $6.

The maps and graphics used on these pages are lower resolution than the originals. They are original and copyrighted, they may not be used without the expressed permission of the author.