- Maintenance and Extension of the Topographic Mars Information System (TMIS) and Processing and Analysis of Terrain Information from Mars Derived from HRSC Imagery

TMIS has recently been re-implemented and contains data covering some three quarters of the planet's surface. Besides maintaining the data catalogue, I.P.F. also uses the Mars DTM data for research activities in DTM analysis. In the course of the current project the focus is on areomorphologic analysis, in particular on generating highly informative visualisations.

Short Description

Data from the planet Mars captured by the camera HRSC (High Resolution Stereo Camera), on the European space probe Mars Express, are received and preprocessed at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR). The original data and derived data, such as digital terrain models (DTMs), are managed by TMIS, which provides a spatial catalogue for world-wide access.

Most techniques for surface presentation of DTMs do not reveal some areomorphic details that are important for interpretation in certain applications, e.g. for topographical mapping; for better understanding landform development, for improving areomorphic analysis, including detection and measurement of craters; for analysis and improvement of DTM quality; and others.

Additionally, aspects of DTM generalisation and multi-scale presentation for visualisation have been considered. A combination of the proposed methods in various scales may improve recognizing and understanding features of landforms. Selected areas on the Mars have been tested using DTMs produced from HRSC images of the Mars Express mission and MOLA data from the US MGS mission.

The methods of areomorphic analysis that have been developed are: relative relief calculation (based on simulation of visibility), relative height coding (or "continuous" contour lines, based on modulo calculation), special edge enhancement. The latter produces a "worn out" impression (as known from hemlines of jeans) by using a combination of different techniques such as curvature calculation, various high-pass filtering, logical and arithmetical operations of variables for producing "relief-below", "relief-above", and "rim" indexes.

Potential locations of the conical features (such as craters) can be marked by applying filters with an annular shape, resulting in annuli whose width indicates the radius and whose height (equivalent to a brightness offset in the visualisation) the depth of craters.

Project Partners


Institute of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, I.P.F., Vienna University of Technology - Josef Jansa


  • Freie Universität Berlin - Prof. Gerhard Neukum (Principal Investigator)
  • Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, Berlin-Adlershof (Data Processing Group)

Contact Address

Institute of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, I.P.F.Vienna University of Technology
Josef Jansa
Gusshausstrasse 27-29 / 122
A-1040 Vienna
Tel.: +43 (1) 58801 12236
Fax: +43 (1) 58801 12299