Development of a planetary Web GIS at the Photothèque Planétaire in Orsay

Chiara Marmo (IDES)


The ′Photothèque Planétaire d'Orsay′ belongs to the Regional Planetary Image Facilities (RPIF) network started by NASA in 1984. The main purpose of the RPIF was to provide easy access to data from US space missions throughout the world. The ′Photothèque′ itself specialises in planetary data processing and distribution for research and public outreach.
Planetary data are heterogeneous, and combining different observations is particularly challenging, especially if they belong to different data-sets. A common description framework is needed, similar to the existing Geographical Information Systems (GIS) that have been developed for manipulating Earth data. In their present state, GIS software and standards cannot directly be applied to other planets because they still lack flexibility in managing coordinate systems. Yet, the GIS framework serves as an excellent starting point for the implementation of a Virtual Observatory for Planetary Sciences, provided it is made more generic and interoperable.
The ′Photothèque Planétaire d'Orsay′ has produced some planetary GIS examples using historical and public datasets. Our main project is a Web-based visualisation system for planetary data, which features direct point-and-click access to quantitative measurements. Thanks to being compatible with all recent web browsers, our interface can also be used for public outreach and to make data accessible for education and training.

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