Making globes of the planets

A reader wished to make globes of the planets, but wanted rounder ones than Planetary Icosahedrons. I am told the USGS in Flagstaff Arizona has some in the works, but as of 2001-Nov-11, they are not yet available. So I wrote a quick GIMP plug-in to make gore maps, and generated these images. [Update: USGS Astrogeology: Maps and Globes now available.]

You can print them out, cut them out, and bend them into globes.
(Mostly diameters of about 8cm and 16cm.)
I suggest you first try Planetary Icosahedrons, which are easier to make.

part 1 , 2 , 3.
From Maps of the Solar System - Mercury.
Image 0/Mercury 580k tif.
Image smaller version 0/Mercury 135k jpg.

    an example page (1 of 6)
PDF version 4MB (somewhat lossy)
TIFF version 8MB
High resolution globe - 300 bpi, ~30 cm diameter (hemisphere)
From MARINER 10 MERCURY Shaded Relief Map.
Image TIFF format Simp Cyl Proj; 10 Mbytes.
Visually boring.

part 1 , 2 , 3.
Earth - no clouds
From Earth images.
Image AVHRR Pathfinder 2048x1024 (192k).
Image smaller version 512x256 (18k).

Brightened slightly. Perhaps not enough.

part 1 , 2 , 3.
Earth's Moon - near IR albedo
Image Clementine global albedo map of the Moon - 10 km/pixel - 204 kb [near IR].

part 1 , 2 , 3.
Earth's Moon - mumble?
From Maps of the Solar System - Earth-Moon System.
Image 1/Moon 1.2M tif.
Image smaller version 1/Moon 330k jpg.

part 1 , 2 , 3.
Mars - no clouds
From NASA Planetary Data System MAP-A-PLANET.
Image MAP-A-PLANET output, generated by [Mars Advanced mars_viking_merged SIMPLE_CYLINDRICAL STRETCH=NONE 5pix/deg Lat 180 Log 360].
Image smaller version.

part 1 , 2 , 3.
From Maps of the Solar System - Jupiter and a "C. Thomas' Planetary Maps" webpage (now gone?).
Image (2nd) Jupiter 2.4M tif.
Image smaller version (2nd) Jupiter 115k jpg.

But compare color with CICLOPS.
[Oops. Looks like CICLOPS has it right. I'll replace this at some point.]

part 1 , 2 , 3.
From Planetary Map's A map of Saturn.
Image saturn.jpg.
Image smaller version saturn_m.jpg.
Visually somewhat boring.
Maps of the Solar System - Neptune has an interesting fictional image, but I've been unable to quickly determine its accuracy.
Visually boring. (Blue-green ball)

the software

I hacked a quick GIMP plug-in, make_globe_gore_map. It currently uses a slow mechanism to access the pixels, so it runs veeerrrrryyyy slowly (hour-ish). Apparently doesn't work under windows.

Here is an alternative script, It is much much faster, portable perl, and doesn't require gimp. It takes a raw PPM format input file, and generates a similar output file. Motivated by a reader's interest and effort -- thanks.


Ready for globe making:
Planetary Icosahedrons
USGS Astrogeology: Maps and Globes
Tennis Ball Globe [PDF]
Understanding Maps of Earth [PDF, page ??]
"Io gore globe image" discussion and image.
Waldseemüller - Globe Gore Map - Bell Library: Maps and Mapmakers

Raw source maps:
Maps of the Solar System
Planetary Maps
USGS Flagstaff Space Mission Support Page
  NASA Planetary Data System MAP-A-PLANET
Earth images
GIMP Animation Tutorial Page 2 [Planets]
(Mercury) Maps of the Solar System - Mercury
(Mercury) Mariner 10 Image Project - MERCURY Shaded Relief Map [big]
(Venus) Planetary Map - A map of Venus [UV]
(Venus) MAP-A-PLANET - Venus "Left-Look" [radar; other forms provide cylindrical map]
(Venus) Maps of the Solar System - Venus [radar, and a "visible" I suspect is really UV]
(Earth) SATELLITES SHED LIGHT ON A WARMER WORLD [citylights/flat_earth_night.tif]
(Earth) ODSN Plate Tectonic Reconstruction Service
(Mars) Maps of the Solar System - Mars
(Mars) MAP-A-PLANET output [Generated by Mars Advanced mars_viking_color SIMPLE_CYLINDRICAL STRETCH=NONE 5pix/deg Lat 180 Log 360] [smoother appearance than _merged]
(Jupiter) CICLOPS: Imaging Diary: Jupiter, Page 3 (also APOD: 2001 February 15 - Jupiter Unpeeled) [movie!]
(Saturn) Maps of the Solar System - Saturn
(Neptune) Maps of the Solar System - Neptune

"Interrupted, sinusoidal (aka "Sanson-Flamsteed") gore map"
(Jupiter) Jupiter in True and False Color and its src page.
(Neptune) True-Color Image
A page of maps is planned for Views of the Solar System.

Thanks to the creators of the planetary cylindrical-projection maps. All I've done is slightly massage them. Thanks also to the reader who motivated this page, to Furuti's Map Projection Pages which showed what needed to be done, and to GIMP which did it.


A reader writes
[Re creating a high-resolution large mars globe...]
"I printed and measured one Mars gore as it would be stuck onto a regular REPLOGLE (earth) globe, and it fits quite nicely. Next thing is to print half-gores on AVERY full sheet size labels. For a 12 inch globe, a half gore just fits a regular 8 1/2 x 11 sheet nicely. Actually, using a feature in Photoshop-7, I can create arrange 3 half-gores, one inverted, for a 12 inch globe, so little of the sticker sheet is wasted. Same can be done with any photo package with cut & paste."

"I have two REPLOGLE globes - 12 inch and 16 inch. They are made of compressed cardboard, with pastic coated sticker gores. The gores on the 12 inch are 15 degrees of longitude wide, while the gore stickers on the 16 inch globe are 30 degrees wide. Looking very closely, I also see that REPLOGLE cut the gores, 1/4 of the gore width through on each side, at just 2 places, at about (14 and 28 degrees Latitudes) on the 12 inch model, but at 3 places, at about (14, 28, 44 degrees Latitudes) on the 16 inch model. These cuts allow the gore stickers to lay flatter on the globe surface during construction. They are just the right depth and at the right height up the gore, to permit the cuts to seemlessly mesh to the sphere."

Comments welcome - Mitchell Charity <>
  The high-resolution Mercury hemisphere's right side is at 10 deg West longitude,
    so the gores are not lined up with the n x 15 deg longitude lines.
    I've another version which is, if anyone cares.

  Mention script-fu version.  Lack of perl-fu for windows.
  Incorporate reader's script-fu extentions into alternate script.
  Goreify visually more accurate CICLOPS's Jupiter.
  Color globe generator, and placeholders for other planets.
  Is "C. Thomas' Planetary Maps" gone for good?
   Higher res earth(PM4x2), mars(gen), merc(shade_simp.tif), etc.
   Vhighres mars, moon, calist, europ, from MAP-A.  30cm/12in globes. 12/24 g?
   Gore 8's? for easier construction
   Planetary moons.  pretty Io.
   Earth paleo.  clouds.  night.
   Saturn's rings.
   Neptune, Uranus, Venus.
   Venus elevation map, color ball, IR.
   Uranus color ball.
   Neptune Voy img.  Check Davis background.
   Make Jupiter from CICLOPS.
   Better Merc src? fullplanet
   Who has Mars' color right, MAP-A-PLANET or Maps of the Solar System?
    Make 2nd Mars from MotSS.
   I don't trust jup0vtt2's poles.
   Layout - equitorial alignment mark, pole caps, core hoops, edge cut strips.
   Match output size/resolution to target print size, and printer res (n x 100dpi). 
   Size specific (PDF) for various objects (tennis ball, etc).
   Support mercator input.  Partial lat/lon coverage.
   Construction tips.
   Line rather than point sampling.  RGBA, GRAY* capable.
   Don't set resolution in plug-in?  Use metric size.(Crntly 10in).
   Do faster PDL? version of plug-in.
   flower layout - get from usgs or write

  2003-Dec-15  Fixed reader comments.  New version of alternative script.
  2003-Dec-14  Added a fast alternative script, and a reader's comments.
  2002-Jun-23  Added `USGS Astrogeology: Maps and Globes'.
  2002-Feb-20  Modified Mercury PDF to avoid clipped edges.
  2002-Feb-20  Added high-resolution Mercury.  For a reader.
  2001-Dec-06  Added true-color references from pds.jpl.  Thanks to a reader!
  2001-Nov-16  Online.