Digital mapping of the Mars Pathfinder landing site: Design, acquisition, and derivation of cartographic products for science applications

L. R. Gaddis, R. L. Kirk, J. R. Johnson, L. A. Soderblom, A. W. Ward, J. Barrett, K. Becker, T. Decker, J. Blue, D. Cook, E. Eliason, T. Hare, E. Howington-Kraus, C. Isbell, E. M. Lee, B. Redding, R. Sucharski, T. Sucharski, P. H. Smith, D. T. Britt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) acquired more than 16,000 images and provided panoramic views of the surface of Mars at the Mars Pathfinder landing site in Ares Vallis. This paper describes the stereoscopic, multispectral IMP imaging sequences and focuses on their use for digital mapping of the landing site and for deriving cartographic products to support science applications of these data. Two-dimensional cartographic processing of IMP data, as performed via techniques and specialized software developed for ISIS (the U.S.Geological Survey image processing software package), is emphasized. Cartographic processing of IMP data includes ingestion, radiometric correction, establishment of geometric control, coregistration of multiple bands, reprojection, and mosaicking. Photogrammetric processing, an integral part of this cartographic work which utilizes the three-dimensional character of the IMP data, supplements standard processing with geometric control and topographic information [Kirk et al., this issue]. Both cartographic and photogrammetric processing are required for producing seamless image mosaics and for coregistering the multispectral IMP data. Final, controlled IMP cartographic products include spectral cubes, panoramic (360° azimuthal coverage) and planimetric (top view) maps, and topographic data, to be archived on four CD-ROM volumes. Uncontrolled and semicontrolled versions of these products were used to support geologic characterization of the landing site during the nominal and extended missions. Controlled products have allowed determination of the topography of the landing site and environs out to ∼60 m, and these data have been used to unravel the history of large- and small-scale geologic processes which shaped the observed landing site. We conclude by summarizing several lessons learned from cartographic processing of IMP data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1998JE900013
Pages (from-to)8853-8868
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Issue numberE4
StatePublished - Apr 25 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Oceanography


Dive into the research topics of 'Digital mapping of the Mars Pathfinder landing site: Design, acquisition, and derivation of cartographic products for science applications'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this