Initial results of rover localization and topographic mapping for the 2003 mars exploration rover mission

Rongxing Li, Steven W. Squyres, Raymond E. Arvidson, Brent A. Archinal, Jim Bell, Yang Cheng, Larry Crumpler, David J. Des Marais, Kaichang Di, Todd A. Ely, Matt Golombek, Eric Graat, John Grant, Joe Guinn, Andrew Johnson, Ron Greeley, Randolph L. Kirk, Mark Maimone, Larry H. Matthies, Mike MalinTim Parker, Mike Sims, Larry A. Soderblom, Shane Thompson, Jue Wang, Patrick Whelley, Fengliang Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


This paper presents the initial results of lander and rover localization and topographic mapping of the MER 2003 mission (by Sol 225 for Spirit and Sol 206 for Opportunity). The Spirit rover has traversed a distance of 3.2 km (actual distance traveled instead of odometry) and Opportunity at 1.2 km. We localized the landers in the Gusev Crater and on the Meridiani Planum using two-way Doppler radio positioning technology and cartographic triangulations through landmarks visible in both orbital and ground images. Additional high-resolution orbital images were taken to verify the determined lander positions. Visual odometry and bundle-adjustment technologies were applied to overcome wheel slippages, azimuthal angle drift and other navigation errors (as large as 21 percent). We generated timely topographic products including 68 orthophoto maps and 3D Digital Terrain Models, eight horizontal rover traverse maps, vertical traverse profiles up to Sol 214 for Spirit and Sol 62 for Opportunity, and five 3D crater models. A web-based landing-site Geographic Information System (GIS) has been set up at The Ohio State University to update and disseminate the daily localization and topographic information to support tactical and strategic operations of the mission. Also described in this paper are applications of the data for science operations planning, geological traverse survey, survey of wind-related features, and other science applications. The majority of the instruments onboard both rovers are healthy at this moment, and they will continue to explore the two landing sites on the Martian surface. We expect to report further localization and topographic mapping results to be achieved in the rest of the mission period and in post-mission data processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1129-1142
Number of pages14
JournalPhotogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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