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Now You Can Chart a Medieval Map of Mars

Be sure to bring Eleanor Lutz's scientifically-accurate map next time you're out trekking the dry dunes.
Images courtesy the artist

Feast your eyes on the first-ever scientifically-accurate Medieval Map of Mars, fashioned by modern day Ptolemy, Seattle-based designer and infographic engineer Eleanor Lutz. This hand-drawn topographic map of the Red Planet is not only filled with rover landing sites and official landmark names from the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature, it also features a complete etymology of Martian crater names. According to the cartographer, Martian craters smaller than 60km in diameter are named after small towns on Earth with populations less than 100,000 people. Craters with a diameter larger than 60km are named after deceased scientists and artists that have contributed to Mars research and folklore.


Known for her animated biology infograph series, Lutz has shifted the focus of her digital design skills to a new found obsession: old maps made by medieval explorers. She thought it would be cool to adapt this antiquated style of cartography to the uncharted parts of our universe.

Although her base map of Mars is hand-drawn, Lutz superimposed her original model with topographic data and satellite image overlay taken from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA), an instrument on NASA’s mars global surveyor spacecraft. “This way, even if some of my lines are a little off, you can still see what the actual ground looks like underneath,” writes Lutz. The map’s contour lines, however, are taken from a color coded contour map developed by the U.S Geological survey in 2003.

Check out a couple close ups below:

Lutz crafted this map of Mars for her blog, Tabletop Whale, earlier this year. You can check out more here.


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