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Planetary geologic mapping—Program status and future needs

February 27, 2019

The United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) Planetary Geologic Map Coordination Group (Flagstaff, Ariz.) surveyed planetary geoscience map makers and users to determine the importance, relevance, and usability of such products to their planetary science research and to current and future needs of the planetary science community. This survey was prepared because the planetary science community lacks a modern assessment of the value invested in geoscience map products and processes (including the diverse scientific and technical personnel who add to and maintain this infrastructure) and a strategy that ensures these efforts appropriately prioritize mapping efforts across all solid surface bodies in the Solar System.

A 30-question survey was conducted through an online questionnaire and was designed to (1) take <10 minutes, (2) instill a sense that responses would be acted upon, and (3) encourage community participation through a user-friendly interface. The survey made a distinction between “standardized” geoscience maps (those published by the USGS that require adherence to specific cartographic standards, conventions, and principles) and “non-standardized” geoscience maps (those published by other venues such as peer-reviewed journals that are not required to, but might, adhere to some cartographic standards, conventions, and principles). The survey was opened on Sunday, March 18, 2017 (to coincide with the annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in The Woodlands, Tex.) and was closed on Thursday, May 25, 2017. There was a total of 265 unique responses that were formulated into 17 unique findings that were matched with one or more recommendations to be addressed by the planetary science community.