Maps and Mappers of the 2023 calendar: Emmanuel Duchene, February

Q: Tell us about yourself:

A. My name is Emmanuel Duchene. I work as a teacher in Sweden. Originally from France, I have for a long time felt a strong attraction for Sweden. I moved here in 2011. I am married and have two children, one of which did this map collab with me. I have always liked maps and geography but have no GIS background whatsoever. It all started when I stumbled upon a 3D rendered map of California by Scott Reinhard on Pinterest. It was quite fascinating to me how he managed to make a vintage map look like 3D. I had never seen that before. Not on that level  at least (we’ve all seen 3D plastic maps with relief in school, for sure). I am very stubborn and set on a quest to make these myself. Many hours passed, many Youtube videos were watched and many blogs read. The thing is, there was nowhere to be found any material covering the whole process. So, I had to learn everything, from importing a georeferenced map into ArcGIS Pro to adding ambient occlusion in Blender, not forgetting how to use feature classes to crop rasters, etc. I have to say that John Nelson’s ArcGIS Pro content on different media were a big help. I think it turned out quite okay. Really, I mainly make these for fun and to entertain my map nerdiness.

Q: Tell us the story behind your map (what inspired you to make it, what did you learn while making it, or any other aspects of the map or its creation you would like people to know):

A. The story behind this map is a bit different. I did not really come up with the idea myself. I told my daughter that you guys were looking for entries for the calendar. I asked her if she wanted to make a map together and send it to you. She said yes and we agreed that we needed to do something a bit different and original. We both love space stuff and planets. I knew from before that elevation data was available for Mars and suggested that to her. She came up with the idea of mapping the rovers’ landing sites. And off we went! The most challenging part was finding the right projection and layout so that all rovers would fit. Mostly, it was trial by error.

Q: Tell us about the tools, data, etc., you used to make the map:

A. The map is made using ArcGIS Pro for layout, geodata, elevation and design. The 3D is rendered in Blender. Some Photoshop is also used to prepare the DEM for blender and make final adjustments in contrast to the final image. The elevation data is from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) DEM at a resolution of 200m.

Mars MGS MOLA – MEX HRSC Blended DEM Global 200m v2 | USGS Astrogeology Science Center