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We are a part of the Intelligent Robotics Group and we focus on advanced computer vision techniques for planetary mapping, planetary geospatial data, and research aspects of photogrammetry and stereogrammetry.

  • We're working to make NASA's geospatial data universally and easily accessible via freely available tools like Google Earth and MS World Wide Telescope.
  • The Mapmakers team specializes in building highly automated image processing and computer vision pipelines that run on NASA's latest supercomputer and cloud computing platforms.
  • We have many collaborations, and we are championing an open source software development model within NASA that allows us to make our tools freely available to the public.

Open Source Software


Lunar Mapping and Modeling


Project Lead: Ara Nefian
NASA’s goal of returning humans to the Moon has led to renewed interest in lunar data sets and lunar science. Our work involves processing on an unprecedented scale, using terabytes of data acquired by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and newly processed Apollo camera images.

NASA Vision Workbench

Project Lead: Mike Lundy
The NASA Vision Workbench (VW) is an open-source C++ framework for efficient computer vision. Vision Workbench has been used to create gigapixel panoramas, 3D terrain models from satellite images, and high-dynamic range images for visual inspection.

+ Visit NASA Vision Workbench

Neo-Geography Toolkit

Project Lead: Ted Scharff
The Neo-Geography Toolkit (NGT) is a suite of automated processing tools for geospatial data. NGT can transform raster/vector data, metadata and geo-tagged data into a variety of formats including KML and WTML. NGT is highly scalable and can process multi-terabyte data sets. NGT was used to help create WorldWideTelescope | Mars.

+ Visit Neo-Geography Toolkit

Planetary Content

Project Lead: Ross Beyer
The Planetary Content project makes NASA's vast stores of planetary data more accessible and useful through Web-enabled tools. In collaboration with Google and other NASA centers, Planetary Content has produced The Moon in Google Earth, Google Mars 3D, Google Moon (2D maps), and the NASA Gallery in Google Earth. Read about the Google-NASA partnership.

+ Visit Planetary Content

Planetary Data Mining

Project Lead: Ara Nefian
The Content based Planetary Data Mining project offers a web service for planetary image search using both visual features and metadata information.

+ Visit Planetary Data Mining

Stereo Pipeline


Project Lead: Zachary Moratto
Ames Stereo Pipeline is an open source library for generation and mosaicking of high-quality topographic models from stereo images.

+ Visit Ames Stereo Pipeline

Terrain Reconstruction


Project Lead: Ara Nefian
Digital terrain models have long been essential for science analysis, mission planning and mission operations. We have developed advanced statistical techniques for sub-pixel disparity computation, and image and topography mosaicking. Current research includes albedo reconstruction, photoclinometric terrain reconstruction and Lidar and image co-registration.

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