Alternative planetary data for geographic information systems
Modern geographic information systems and services (QGIS, ArcGIS, MapBox, etc .; hereinafter GIS) and the data formats used by them have become a standard tool for presenting maps of the Earth’s surface and even the surface of some nearby planets. But there is a kind of map where the means of geographic information systems are practically never used anywhere. And these are cards that are obtained as a result of procedural generation , for example, in video games.
The main difficulties along this path: a large number of calculations to obtain any kind of detailed map of even a small planet, complicating the generation methods when moving to the spherical surface of the planet, obtaining a plausible relief with rivers and lakes. The procedure for extracting vector cartographic information from the obtained relief is also a certain difficulty.
In my recent startup, I learned how to make spherical procedurally generated maps of planets with a relief reminiscent of the Earth . Although not everything still looks as it should or as one would like (for example, rivers are everywhere the same width everywhere), but the result is already quite encouraging and can be applied somewhere. Examples of planets can be seen on the site. There you can find a description of the method that is used to obtain planet maps (there is also my old post on this topic , but the information there could be partially outdated).
The resulting data is presented as understandable for GIS . Currently, vector data is laid out in ESRI Shapefiles, and raster information in GeoTiffs and SRTM DEMs. Accordingly, you can apply the power of modern GIS to the data and represent them as you like, up to changing the projection, rendering the heilshading or height contours.
A by-product of this whole process is the possibility of obtaining geoinformation data for relief objects that are unlikely or even impossible in principle on the earth's surface. The picture at the beginning of the post is part of the relief of the planet Mandelbrot , and the picture below is the only mainland of this planet .
All images presented in this post are selected projections of the spherical map sections of the corresponding planets.