Current Mapping Guidelines

Guidelines in the form of handbooks, tutorials, manuscripts, and templates have been developed and periodically updated and modernized by the USGS, in tandem with NASA programs and research scientists. The materials listed below represent current guidelines, which should be closely followed during the process of geologic mapping in order to maintain consistency between and timeliness of published products. For clarifications or additions, please contact the USGS Map Coordinator.

Guideline
Link
Description

Mapping Handbook (2018)

A comprehensive “how to” mapping guide that covers the data, tools, procedures, support, review, and publication requirements.

Instructions for Authors

-Author Checklist-

Checklist for authors submitting planetary geologic maps to USGS for post-peer review editing and publication.

Instructions for Authors

-Map Submission-

Instructions for the components and format of geologic maps to be submitted to USGS for technical review.

Instructions for Authors

-Example Folder and Templates-

Recommended folder structure for authors to help organize map submission including Pamphlet/COMU/DOMU/Table template examples (Word/Excel/Illustrator or InkScape).
FGDC Planetary Symbology
Federal Geographic Data Committee recommended symbology for planetary geologic maps (FGDC website).

The most common geologic symbols are available in ArcGIS, but a complete style file for planetary geology (FGDC Section 25) is available here for download.  Most of these symbols have been implemented as SVGs for use in QGIS, and can be found at this GitHub repository.

These symbols are also available as part of the PGM Python Toolbox for use in the New Map GDB tool.

Please also visit our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).




Archived Mapping Guidelines

Many of the fundamental aspects of past guidelines have evolved significantly in recent years due to the onslaught of planetary data sets and the digital environments in which they are analyzed. As a result, guidelines are periodically updated and past guidelines are archived for use as a heritage of mapping methods. The materials listed below represent outdated guidelines, which are useful as a heritage of mapping strategies and data sets. For clarifications or additions, please contact the USGS Map Coordinator.

Guideline
Link
Description

Venus Symbols

Please use FGDC resources above.

Venus Geologic Mappers Handbook

Published in 1994. Some information specific to Venus may still be valuable if not available in the more current handbook above.

Venus COMUs

Venus Correlation of Map Units (COMU/SOMU) as presented in 2003.
Magellan Quantitative Data
Covers the use & presentation of Magellan quantitative data in Venus mapping (1995).
Reno Mapping Guidelines for Venus
Guidelines and recommendations from a Meeting of the Venus Geological Mapping
Steering Group Reno, NV, August 1996
Washington D.C. Mapping Guidelines for Venus
Guidelines and recommendations from a Meeting of the Venus Geological Mapping
Steering Group Washington, D.C., October 1995
Astrogeology Manuscript Submittal Process
Please use resources in section above.
Tips for Preparation of Astrogeology Maps
Please use resources in section above.