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Transform Earth Globe to Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Mercury and Sun. Using OpenWebGIS in astrogeology

In this article you will know about using OpenWebGIS for creating 2D and 3D (on the surface of the Earth globe) surface maps of the planets of our solar system. Visualization of planetary surfaces by means of this method may be useful for informational, educational purposes, as well as for creating presentations without using any additional software, except your browser. But described method can not be considered as a real simulation of solar system planets for scientific purposes. In this article, the term "3D map" means the overlaying of a planet surface on the Earth globe with the ability to rotate and scale, in this case the height and the depth of surface roughness are not modeled.

Figure 1.
Creating 3D maps in OpenWebGIS is done by means of integrating open source JavaScript libraries OpenLayers v. 2.x and Cesium v.1.3. For more information about 3D in OpenWebGIS you can read here: OpenWebGIS is now in 3D! ; Creating a 3D city model in OpenWebGIS (Extruding 2D polygons to 3D); Video. OpenWebGIS is now in 3D! Atlantic Hurricane Tracks with OpenWebGIS; OpenWebGIS 3D Infographics - The world`s major cities population; Creating 3D track of International Space Station with the help of OpenWebGIS; OpenWebGIS: Changing the sky (background) around the Earth in 3D View; Video about changing the sky (background) around the Earth in 3D View of OpenWebGIS

OpenWebGIS is a completely free project without advertising based on Open Source software. After registration, if it is necessary, you can upload your data to be stored on the server OpenWebGIS, but most of the calculations can be performed even if the data is not uploaded to the server (if it is not very bulky - about 10 thousand items in the layer). You can use the extensive mathematical functionality to calculate and analyze your data. Using OpenWebGIS you will get online a Geographic Information System at your disposal, it may be similar in functionality to many desktop GIS. All existing services / functions OpenWebGIS itself OpenWebGIS were created with the enthusiasm of the OpenWebGIS team developers.
OpenWebGIS software structure can be seen here.

In order to create 2D or 3D surface maps (any, not just the planets surfaces), you can use two methods:

  1. Creating on the basis of WMS layers.

  2. Creating on the basis of any image or images that are stored on your computer.

3D map creating on the basis of WMS layers.

When visualizing by means of the first method you must have a web-link of WMS layer on the server that provides WMS layers in public use. If the WMS server supports CORS technology and has a projection EPSG 900913, 3857, then you can easily create the 2D and 3D map in OpenWebGIS. If the WMS server does not support CORS, you can create 2D map, and for the 3D map creating firstly you will need to save link to WMS layer in OpenWebGIS. To do this, you must be registered in OpenWebGIS. If the WMS layer does not support EPSG projections 900913, 3857, then in any case you will need to save it in OpenWebGIS.

When visualizing by means of the second method you do not need to have anything except the image you like on your computer, but it should not cross the date line.

Let’s start creating planets.

To create by means of the first method we will use the great storage of astrogeological WMS layers: http://astrowebmaps.wr.usgs.gov/webmapatlas/Layers/maps.html provided by USGS. "The USGS is a science organization that provides impartial information on the health of our ecosystems and environment, the natural hazards that threaten us, the natural resources we rely on, the impacts of climate and land-use change, and the core science systems that help us provide timely, relevant, and useable information."

In order to apply the WMS layer (for a start let’s choose the surface of Mars) on OpenWebGIS map select "Layers-> New Layer from WMS url". In the pop-up window in the textbox titled "Insert the URL WMS server without CORS" (because the server does not support USGS CORS), insert the appropriate link:http://planetarymaps.usgs.gov/cgi-bin/mapserv?map=/maps/mars/mars_simp_cyl.map&service=WMS&request=GetCapabilities. See Figure 2.

Figure 2.
Click the button "Get list" and to the window the new controls will be added as shown in Figure 2.

Since the USGS server does not support CORS and a layer with the surface of Mars has no projection EPSG 900913, then in order to apply it to 2D and 3D map - it (the link on it) should be saved on the server of OpenWebGIS. To do this, fill in the fields as shown in Figure 2, and click "Save layer". After that OpenWebGIS will ask your username and password. After you save a layer with the surface of Mars, you can overlay layer on the map if you click on the menu item "Layers-> Add Layer". Select the layer name "Mars_usgs" in the list. And after a while you will see the surface of Mars over the Earth's surface (see Figure 3). By default, all WMS layers in OpenWebGIS are added with transparency equal to 0.5. To change the transparency, click on the word "legend" under the layer name, then an additional area with a gray stripe will open, hover the mouse cursor on it and a slider appears that you can move and change the opacity (transparency) of the layer (see the bottom left of the Figure 3).
Figure 3.

After changing the transparency (it was made completely opaque) the surface of Mars in the interface of OpenWebGIS will look as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4.

Zoom the map using controls of OpenWebGIS or a middle mouse button (see Figure 5).
Figure 5.

We remind you that if the WMS layer supports projection EPSG 900913, 3857, it can be added on 2D map without saving and registration on the server of OpenWebGIS (regardless of whether they support CORS technology or not). If the WMS layer supports projection EPSG 900913, 3857, but the server does not support CORS, then it can be applied on 2D map without saving and registration. If WMS layer supports EPSG projections 900913, 3857, and the server supports CORS, then the layer can be added without registering and saving both on the 2D map and the 3D map.
Once you have added the surface of Mars on a 2D map, you can put it on a globe of the Earth, thus making the Earth into Mars.
In order to open the 3D map you must click on the button 3d_off in the upper right corner of the map. This button has the title "Add 3d Map. Globe". There will be a pop-up window in which you can set the desired size of the 3d map area in pixels. See Figure 6.
Figure 6.

After clicking "Ok" in the pop-up window "options with 3D map" , you will get the planet Mars looking almost like a real one. See the Figure 7.
Figure 7.

For working with 3D map use these navigation instructions:
Pan view: Left click + drag;
Zoom view: Right click + drag, or Mouse wheel scroll;

Rotate view: Middle click + drag, or CTRL + Left click + drag.

Zoom in and rotate the image of the planet and get a view as shown in Figure 8.
Figure 8.

Ready 2D map of Mars, you can see at this link in order to get a 3D map you just need to click on the button 3d_offin the upper right corner of the map.
"This color map is Viking Mars Digital Image Mosaic (MDIM) version 2.1 was registered to the MOLA control network and created by the USGS at 256 pixel / degree (231m / p). It was then colorized by NASA AMES using a warped colorized MDIM 1.0."

Now, in a similar way let’s transform the Earth into Jupiter, Venus and Mercury.
Ready 2D map of Jupiter in OpenWebGIS is available at the link. See the Figure 9.
Figure 9.
This map shown in Figure 9 is a "color map (PDS Photojournel number: PIA07782) of Jupiter was constructed from images taken by the narrow-angle camera onboard NASA's Cassini spacecraft on Dec. 11 and 12, 2000, as the spacecraft neared Jupiter during its flyby of the giant planet. Cassini was on its way to Saturn. It is the most detailed global color maps of Jupiter ever produced. The smallest visible features are about 120 kilometers (75 miles) across. The map is composed of 36 images: a pair of images covering Jupiter's northern and southern hemispheres was acquired in two colors every hour for nine hours as Jupiter rotated beneath the spacecraft. Although the raw images are in just two colors, 750 nanometers (near-infrared) and 451 nanometers (blue), the map's colors are close to those the human eye would see when gazing at Jupiter. Image credit by NASA / JPL / Space Science Institute."

Ready 2D map of Venus in OpenWebGIS is available at the link. See the Figure 10.
Figure 10.
This map shown in Figure 10 is "a global colorized Magellan C-3 MIDR SAR data set created by the USGS Astrogeology Research Program. Because Venus is shrouded by a dense, opaque atmosphere, conventional optical cameras can not be used to image its surface. Instead, Magellan's imaging radar uses bursts of microwave energy somewhat like a camera flash to illuminate the planet's surface. In addition, special processing techniques are used on the radar data to result in higher resolution as if the radar had a larger antenna, or 'aperture'; the technique is thus often called 'synthetic aperture radar,' or SAR. The Magellan mission was managed for NASA by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, CA. Data processed by JPL, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, and the US Geological Survey, Flagstaff, AZ. Credit: USGS / NASA / JPL Magellan Mission."

Ready 2D map of Mercury in OpenWebGIS is available at the link. See the Figure 11.
Figure 11.

This map shown in Figure 11 is "mosaic was created using MESSENGER orbital images that were released by the Messenger Team in May 2013. The combined basemap is a combination of the following mosaics:
1) The 2013-05-10 version of the monochrome global mosaic, made from ACT tiles.
) An average north polar mosaic from 90N to 82.5N, composed of images from many campaigns, made by C. Ernst.
) An average south polar mosaic from 90S to 85S, composed of images from the south polar monitoring campaign from the primary mission, made by N. Chabot.
To fill in minor nulls, the 2013-05-10 version of the high global mosaic was underlain.
The equiorial view is in equirectangular projection and shows the entire globe. The polar views show the pole down to +/- 65 in polar stereographic projection."

Map creating on the basis of any image or images that are stored on your computer

Let's take for our experiment the image of the Martian surface from the site http://www.astrosurf.com/
It looks as shown in Figure 12. Save the image by right-clicking on it and by clicking context menu item "Save Image As .."
Figure 12.

Now add this image to the map of OpenWebGIS, using the menu item "Layers-> New Layer from Image file". See the Figure 13.
Figure 13.

In the pop-up windowoptions of Image” with the help of “Browse” button, select an image stored on your computer. Then, with the help of two clicks on the map, you can automatically enter coordinates of the lower left corner of the image and the upper right corner of the image into the appropriate fields or enter them manually. In order to cover the entire surface of the globe, coordinate values should be approximately such as shown in Figure 14 and then click "OK". In order to open the 3D map you must click on the button 3d_offin the upper right corner of the map. This button has the title "Add 3d Map. Globe". There will be a pop-up window in which you can set the desired size of the 3D map area in pixels.


Figure 14.

Mars in the Figure 14 looks nice, but if we rotate the globe we will see a feature of overlaying images on the globe in OpenWebGIS (at the poles and near the Date Line the image is drawn incorrectly (see Figure 15). Perhaps in the near future, this problem will be solved by OpenWebGIS developers.
Figure 15.

Ready map of Mars in OpenWebGIS based on the image is available at the link. See the Figure 14.

You can do 2D maps based on images without saving them to your computer on the basis of their URL. For this use the menu item "Layers-> New Layer from Image url". But in order to create a 3D map on the basis of this image, the server where the image was taken from should support CORS technology.

Likewise, let's make the Sun from the Earth. To do this, you can take an image with the surface of the Sun from the site of NASA http://stereo.gsfc.nasa.gov/gallery/item.php?id=stereoimages&iid=199. The Sun 360: March - November 2012, 304 A.
Ready 2D map based on the image of the Sun is available at the link . See the Figure 16.

Figure 16 - Sun. Image of the Sun from NASA
Figure 17 - Sun with dateline. Image of the Sun from NASA.