Exploring the Role of a Planetary GIS in the Route Selection of Martian Rovers
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Strang, Adam L
The route management of a Martian rover is both complex and perilous. Its perambulations subject to myriad constraints: all the while looking to operate at maximum efficacy within an alien environment under the duress of a prohibitively limited operating window. Such a fraught geospatial scenario seems ideally suited to the quantitative analytical power of a GIS and it is the aim of this study to construct and evaluate such a system: critiquing its effectiveness and potential role in mission architecture. Developed with the aid of a nascent high resolution DEM and explored through least-cost path analysis: a series of rover mission scenarios were posited, challenging the systems ability to manage route operations on both strategic and tactical levels. Through data derivation, reclassification and the introduction of supplementary techniques the numerous parameters that inform operations were transferred to within the body of the GIS; enabling it to return routes that responded admirably to topography, anisotropy, technical limitations and the temporal elements of route management. Considering the success achieved in the high-level strategic production and appraisal of routes the systems influence is likely to extend to a noticeable ground-level reduction in the need for computationally expensive navigational techniques, such as visual odometry.