Part 4—Explore Maps of Earth and Other Worlds

Step 1 –
View Data Samples and Descriptions

  1. In the Voyager window, click the Features drop-down menu to view the list of datasets available for Earth. Some of the dataset names are descriptive, but many are listed by acronyms that you may not understand.
  2. To see sample images and in-depth descriptions of the datasets, click the Earth Features Help link that displays in the top line of text on the Jules Verne Voyager page.
  3. Scroll down to see thumbnail images of datasets available for Earth. Make a note of one or more datasets that interest you.
  4. Use the back button to close the Earth Features Help window and return to the Voyager: Earth window.

Step 2 –
Create Maps of Earth from New Datasets

  1. Click the Features drop-down menu again and notice that there are two kinds of data in the list:
    • –texture underlays– at the top of the list are raster data. These grids are similar to digital photographs. Only one texture underlay can be displayed at a time.
    • –image overlays– listed at the bottom are points, lines, and shapes that can be superimposed on texture underlays. Selecting datasets from this list is similar to turning on (or off) layers in a Geographic Information System: you can select as many as you like. Some image overlays only show up on zoomed views.
  2. Take a brief look at the dataset names under the GPS/Other drop-down menu. These are also image overlays. Generally, they are geodesy data that researchers use for studying crustal deformation and plate tectonics. You are welcome to explore them, but we will not access them in this activity.
    Geodesy is the branch of science concerned with the precise measurement of Earth's shape. By measuring the distance between various points on Earth's surface with high-precision GPS techniques, geodesists can infer the amount and direction of strain and crustal deformation that is occurring. Strain maps are important tools for earthquake prediction.
  3. Select the datasets you want from the Features menu by selecting one dataset name at a time.
    • As you select them, the names of your selected datasets appear just below the Features pull-down menu. To de-select a dataset, simply highlight and click it again.
  4. Click the Redraw button to submit your data request and see your new map.

Maps for you to make

Use the techniques you've learned to create a few of your own maps, or try some of the suggestions listed here. Start by clicking the Reload or Refresh button in your browser, or start with a new instance of Voyager for each map. After you've made your best attempt to create the suggested map, click the "Show me..." link to check yourself.

Location on anc link

To get information on a map in the Voyager window, click the URL drop-down menu and choose anc. This will open a new window showing available color scale information associated with the texture underlay that is currently displayed. The new window may also provide a link to the data source. NOTE: If your browser has pop-up windows disabled, you may not see these.

For a comprehensive list of data sources accessible through Voyager, click the Information Sources link at the bottom of any Voyager page.
Location of Info sources link

Step 3 –
Create Maps of Other Worlds (Planets and Moons)

  1. Open the Solar System Portal by clicking the link in the upper right of the Voyager window.
  2. Click any thumbnail image to launch an instance of the Voyager tool showing data for that planet or moon (collectively referred to as worlds).
  3. All of Voyager's navigation controls and data request techniques work in exactly the same way for every world as they do for Earth. Several worlds have multiple datasets available under the Features and Missions drop-down menus.
  4. Use zoom and pan capabilities to examine some planetary features. For each world you explore, map some of the other datasets available under Features and/or Missions. Remember to click Redraw to "order" the map data you've selected. Also, note that some datasets only show up on zoomed-in versions of a map.
  5. Using URL shortcuts with other planets

    Voyager URLs for all planets follow the same format as for Earth and Earth's Moon. For example,
    • Voyager's main URL for Earth is
      Voyager's main URL for Jupiter is
    • The URL for Earth's Moon is
      The URL for Callisto, a moon of Jupiter is

    Like Earth, other worlds also have coordinate systems (latitude and longitude) that allow us to reference specific points on their "surfaces." You can use these coordinates in URL shortcuts to create map images centered on specific features on other planets. You can also use URL shortcuts to specify the area covered by the map or the width of images as described in Part 2.

    For example, Herschel, a crater on Saturn's moon, Mimas, is centered at 0°N, 120°W. Therefore the URL will produce a map image of Mimas that is centered on Herschel.

    Saturn's moon, Mimas, centered on Herschel, its largest crater. Black areas were not imaged by the Voyager or Cassini spacecrafts. The "fuzzy" areas were imaged by a spacecraft that was farther away than it was when the clear areas were imaged.


    An index view of Mimas. Mimas as viewed from space

    Use coordinates from the table below to build URLs centered on specific features on other worlds.

    Feature Planet Feature Name Coordinates
    Canyon Earth Grand Canyon 36°N, 113°E
    Canyon Mars Valles Marineris 10°S, 73°W
    Canyon Mars Kasei Valles 26°N, 62°W
    Volcano Venus Maxwell Montes 65.0°N, 4.6°E
    Volcano Earth Hawaii 19.7°N, 155.5°W
    Volcano Mars Olympus Mons 18.4°N, 133.4°W
    Volcano Jupiter/Io Pele 19°S, 103.8°E
    Impact Crater Earth Vredefort 27°S, 27.5°E
    Impact Crater Earth/Moon Orientale 19°S, 94.5°W
    Impact Crater Mars Gusev 14.3°S, 175.4°E
    Impact Crater Jupiter/Callisto Lofn 55.4°S, 23.5°W

    Other-world maps for you to make

    Create and explore your own maps or try the suggestions below. Use any of the techniques you've learned. Once you've made your best attempt, click the "Show me" to check yourself.

    1. Create an image of Earth's Moon. Show the site labels and ancillary site data for USSR Luna sites. Zoom in to the area they cover, then create an index view.
      In the Solar System Portal window, click the thumbnail image of Earth's moon. (scroll down to find it)
      In the new window that opens, under the Missions drop-down menu, choose:
      • site labels
      • ancillary site data
      • USSR Luna sites
      then click the Redraw button.
      Make a rubberband box around the sites to zoom in to, then click the Index button.
    2. Create an image centered on Gusev crater on Mars. Gusev is the landing site for the Mars rover, Spirit. The crater's coordinates are 14.3°S, 175.4°E. Zoom in and display a distance scale that allows you to estimate the crater's diameter.
      1. Drag a zoom box over a large section of the center of the image so you can identify the crater: Gusev is a round crater with an obvious channel system that drains into it from the south.
      2. To add a distance scale, choose distance scale under the Features menu, then click Redraw.

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