OpenPlanetary is back from the LPSC 2017 and we have some things to tell you

Posted by Ramiro Marco Figuera on March 29, 2017  Improve this post

OpenPlanetary is back from the LPSC 2017 and we have some things to tell you

This is not the first Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) held after the foundation of OpenPlanetary, but probably the first LPSC were we tried to promote and spread the OpenPlanetary philosophy. I think we should take the opportunity to see how was it, the health of the planetary open-source community and what should we do for future conferences and next year’s LPSC. Overall, there was a quite significant presence of GIS, data analysis and planetary mapping presentations and posters. Five specific sessions about open-source data analysis and mapping were held at LPSC this year: an oral session, one discussion session and 3 poster sessions.

Oral session : PLANETARY SPATIAL DATA INFRASTRUCTURE I: ENABLING EXPLORATION AND RESEARCH ACROSS THE SOLAR SYSTEM

It was really good to have a dedicated session the first day of the conference. Quite a big crowd joined the session. We had the opportunity to see 9 talks from different topics. The talks can be divided in 3 groups:

  • Planetary Spatial Data Infrastructure
  • Planetary webGIS clients
  • Image processing and Image algorithms

Here you can find a link to the complete list of presenters.

I would like to highlight the talk given by Jay Laura (for Brent Archinal) about the need of a Planetary Spatial Data Infrastructure, the talk given by Sebastien Besse about the new Planetary Science Archive (PSA), the Multi-Mission Geographic Information System for In Situ Mars Operations (MMGIS), a webGIS client capable of giving multi-sensor support presented by Fred Calef and the talk about cross-mission image calibration given by Emerson Speyerer. All the talks in the session had a nice discussion session with few questions.

Poster session: PLANETARY SPATIAL DATA INFRASTRUCTURE II: GEOLOGIC MAPS AND PLANETARY MAPPING

In this session a large number (17) of geological maps were presented. Not all of them (to be honest almost none) used open-source tools to produce such maps, being ArcGIS again the most used tool among the presenters. This session was dedicated to geological maps of different planetary bodies except Mars (who had a dedicated session). We could see maps from Ceres, Mercury and the Moon. All the posters can be found here.

Poster session: PLANETARY SPATIAL DATA INFRASTRUCTURE III: ANALYSIS TOOLS AND DATA DELIVERY SYSTEMS

This is probably one of the most interesting sessions for the open-source community. A total of 20 poster with planetary science open-source tools were shown, which shows that, although still (mostly geologist) ArcGIS is widely used, more and more GIS and data analysis open-source tools are being developed. The topics of the posters had a wide spectra of topics:

  • Cartographic symbolization for geologic and geomorphological maps
  • Automated DTM generator using MRO data
  • PlanetServer web client and Python API
  • The Sparse Multi-Image control Library for sparse n-image network generation
  • iMars webGIS

You can find all the posters here.

Poster Session: PLANETARY SPATIAL DATA INFRASTRUCTURE IV: NEW TECHNIQUES, DATASETS, AND INSTRUMENT CALIBRATION ADVANCES

In this session we had the opportunity to see a large number of new datasets and data analysis algorithms. This was by far the largest spatial data session with 29 posters. Topics were also quite wide:

  • Long exposure LRO NAC images of Permanent Shadowed Regions in the Moon
  • Error analysis and statistics for remote sensing data
  • Lunar gamma ray spectra archiving
  • Automatic machine learning classification of Dawn/VNIR Data

A complete list of posters can be found in this link.

MAPSIT discussion

The MAPSIT discussion toke place on Tuesday noon. It was a rather short although very fruitful 1 hour where the need of having a spatial data infrastructure “Road Map” was discussed. This “Road Map” should be more flushed-out and presented at the end of the Planetary Data Workshop in June.

Did the people know about OpenPlanetary?

That’s the million dollar question, and I am afraid to say that the answer is NO. Well, no with some nuances. Some of the presenters and the open-source community at LPSC are already part of OpenPlanetary but a large number of people hadn’t heard about it. This is not a surprise and something to be taken negatively, on the contrary, we can use this as a learning process. We did some heavy sticker bombing the first and second day of the conference and some more lighter sticker showers the rest of the days. This helped a lot to spread the word. For next year we need some “business cards” to target all the poster that can be of interest (á la MAPSIT style).

Some conclusions and things to do

Overall, I think that having 4 dedicated session at LPSC shows the good health of the planetary data analysis, planetary mapping and the open-source community. Under my point of view, I still think we need to do some work on convincing developers to share codes on github-like platforms as some of the developer teams had non or minimum intention to share the code of their tools. I think we should keep the good work and keep promoting OpenPlanetary in future conferences. This year at the European Planetary Science Conference (EPSC), a “Data Analysis Café” will be held by some of the OpenPlanetary folks. Maybe we can use the experience and try to do something similar for next year’s LPSC? Also, to be a bit more visible, we could try to have a booth or use a corner of one of our colleagues? or even some of us can register as microbloggers! Another idea would be to have a “demo” corner at the poster session. A live demo session will allow developers to present and show their tools and give instant feedback. I like the idea of having some 15 minutes live demo vs a 15 minutes static talk. We can start some discussion at the Planetary Mapping and Virtual Observatory workshop in Roscoff, don’t you think?


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