Martian Coordinate Systems

For more detailed information about planetary nomenclature see Introduction to Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature.

Coordinates for Mars can be viewed in two different systems on the feature name page webmaps: planetographic latitude with longitude increasing to the west, or planetocentric latitude with longitude increasing to the east. Both systems are approved for use on Mars by the International Astronomical Union (Seidelmann and others 2002).

Planetographic latitude with west longitude is the system that has traditionally been used for Mars, and was previously the only system used on this web site. Planetocentric latitude with east longitude has been adopted for use by the USGS and other organizations for use in making future Mars maps and imagery (Duxbury and others 2002). Maps produced prior to 2002 (except for products produced by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Team (Smith and others 2001)) used the planetographic latitude with west longitude system, so this system is being retained in the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature for reference.


Duxbury, T., Kirk, R.L., Archinal, B.A., and Neumann, G.A., 2002, Mars Geodesy/Cartography Working Group Recommendations on Mars Cartographic Constants and Coordinate Systems, in ISPRS, v. 34, part 4, GeoSpatial Theory, Processing and Applications, Ottawa.

Seidelmann (Chair), P.K., Abalakin, V.K., Bursa, M., Davies, M.E., De Bergh, C., Lieske, J.H., Oberst, J., Simon, J.L., Standish, E.M., Stooke, P., and Thomas, P.C., 2002, Report Of The IAU/IAG Working Group on Cartographic Coordinates and Rotational Elements of the Planets, and Satellites: 2000, in Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy, v. 82, p. 83-110. Available from ADS.

Smith, D.E., Zuber, M.T., Frey, H.V., Garvin, J.B., Head, J.W., Muhleman, D.O., Pettengill, G.H., Phillips, R.J., Solomon, S.C., Zwally, H.J., Banerdt, W.B., Duxbury, T.C., Golombek, M.P., Lemoine, F.G., Neumann, G.A., Rowlands, D.D., Aharonson, O., Ford, P.G., Ivanov, A.B., McGovern, P.J., Abshire, J.B., Afzal, R.S., and Sun, X., 2001, Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA): Experiment Summary after the First Year of Global Mapping of Mars, in Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 106, p. 23,689-23,722.

Interactive Images & Maps

  • Mars Quickmap: a powerful map interface to browse Lunar data from MRO/CRISM and other missions. Explore Mars in both 2D and 3D.

Related Resources from USGS Astrogeology

Topographic Map of Mars (MOLA Base)

USGS-NASA Planetary Geologic Mapping Program Interactive Geologic Maps of Mars Explore interactive geologic maps on ArcGIS Online

Maps & Globes Gallery: Mars