Archive | May 2014

More about Planet Four Translations

Üdvözlünk a Planet Four oldalán! 欢迎光临第四行星!Willkommen bei Planet Vier! 歡迎光臨第四行星!

You might remember that Planet Four is available in traditional and simplified character Chinese, but did you know the site is also available  in German and Magyar(Hungarian)? We wanted to share a little bit more about some of the people who’ve helped make these translations possible.

Ning Ding helped verify the science content of the simplified Chinese character  translation. Here’s more about Ning in English and in simplified character Chinese:

Ning Ding is a Ph.D candidate of China University of Geosciences (Wuhan) major in structure geology.She is mainly interested in  the central uplifts of Martian impact craters and comparative planetology. She was a visiting student in HiRISE team in the US where she knew the Planet Four and participated in Chinese translation the website.

丁宁现在是中国地质大学(武汉)构造地质学专业博士生,研究兴趣主要为火星撞击坑中央隆起构造及比较行星学。曾作为访问学生在火星HiRISE项目组学习,并因此接触到Planet Four网站,继而参与Planet Four简体中文版的翻译工作。

Lukas Hackl helped translate Planet Four into German . Here’s more about Lukas in German and English:

My name is Lukas Hackl. I am from Austria and working for an IT company. I am interested in Astronomy, Photography, Motorcycle and other science. I like to be part of researches and help scientists around the world.

Mein Name ist Lukas Hackl. Ich komme aus Österreich und arbeite für eine IT-Firma. Ich interessiere mich für Astronomie, Fotografie, Motorrad und andere Wissenschaften. Es gefällt mir Teil von Forschungen zu sein und Wissenschaftlern auf der ganzen Welt helfen zu können.


Szatmáry László  helped translate Planet Four into Hungarian/Magyar . Here’s more about  László in Magyar and English:

So, I’m an Application Specialist in a Hungarian software company and a beginner amateur astronomer. I’m participated in numerous Zooniverse projects and I think it is a great way to help science and scientist in their works. I have only one bigger experience in translating, I was one of the Hungarian translators of I’m interested in sports, chess, stars and environment defense.

Alkalmazástechnikai szakember vagyok egy magyar szoftvervállalatnál illetve kezdő amatőrcsillagász. Több Zooniverse projektben is részt veszek, szerintem ez egy hatalmas lehetőség a tudomány és tudósok segítésére. Jelentősebb fordítói tapasztalatom eddig a magyarítása volt, itt egy voltam a többi fordító között. Érdekel a sport, a sakk, a csillagok és a környezetvédelem.

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Are you interested in helping translate Planet Four into other languages? Find out more here on how to join the effort.

Gold Standard Data

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

We wanted to give you a quick update on what the science team is up to. We’ve been hard at work making progress towards the goal of completing the project’s first paper, thanks to your help marking the fans and blotches in the season 2 and season 3 cutouts. Fingers crossed, we aim to submit the paper to a scientific journal by the early Fall.

We’ve been working on developing the best method to combine your classifications to identify blotches and fans in the cutouts you see on Planet Four. About 30-100 people look at each cutout, and we need to combine those markings together to get the exact locations and shapes of the seasonal features. This is one of the aspects the team is thinking about, but one of the other things we’ve started working on is looking at how well the project can identify fans and blotches in the images.  You might think that this is obvious just looking at the images that the dark fans pop out on the screen, but for the paper we need to prove this is true. This is important because if we want to look at how carbon dioxide geyser/jet activity changes over time, we need to be able to show that the project as a whole can really identify most of the fans and the blotches in the cutouts we show on the site.

Some of the other Zooniverse projects have compared to simulated or synthetic data that was shown and classified on the site (so they knew what the right answer was for the synthetic data) or there was already a catalog of a portion of the data that could be used to compare to.  It’s difficult to make a simulated HiRISE image with fans. As you’ve seen from the images, there is so much variation in color and texture of  Mars and same with the the shapes, sizes, and even color of fans that this would be likely be impossible to get  just right.  So what about a previously made catalog of a small subset of the data we’re showing on Planet Four? There are so many blotches and fans that no one has attempted this on a large enough scale for us to fully compare the results from Planet Four to.  Planet Four really is  making the first map of these dark seasonal features in the HiRISE monitoring images of the Martian South Pole. The science team didn’t even know at launch exactly how frequently in the images you’re looking at on the site that you’ll see fans and blotches. You clicks are telling us the answer.

Even if there was such a catalog of fans and blotches to compare to,  it would be done in a different way (not done using the web interface we have for Planet Four) that likely has its own biases towards detection and non-detection of the seasonal features. So what do we do? Well,  the science team can make our own ‘gold standard‘ dataset by classifying a small subset of the cutouts we showed for Season 2 and Season 3 (a few % of the entire Season 2 and Season 3 cutouts) in the interface and use those markings in the same way as a catalog. Candy, Anya, and Michael have stared at many many images of fans and blotches from HiRISE, and I had one of my graduate preliminary exam project on mapping the fans and blotches in images from a previous lower resolution camera (Mars Orbiter Camera – MOC). So we can argue that we should be able to identify fans and blotches reasonably well in the Planer Four images and use our markings to create a catalog which we are calling the gold standard dataset. Other Zooniverse projects, such as Snapshot Serengeti,  have done something similar.

Right now, we’re going through a mostly random selection of cutouts from Season 2 and Season 3, marking the fans and blotches we see with the same classification interface on the Planet Four website. To get a large enough sample of cutouts reviewed, we’re each mainly marking different cutouts than each other, but we do have a small amount of overlap for us to compare our results to each other and understand the differences. For example, I’ve looked at less images of HiRISE fans than the rest of the science team, that might make me more liberal with my markings than say Candy or Anya. The overlap should help us understand and calibrate for those kinds of effects between the different science team markings.

It might seem like we’re testing you but we’re really testing the project. This gold standard dataset is going to help us explore and show how well Planet Four as a whole can identify the seasonal fans and blotches in the images from HiRISE. Without the analysis and comparison to the gold standard data, we would just have a catalog of fans and blotches on the surface. The comparison to the gold standard data  is a really vital part of the project, and allows us to study how the Martian climate impacts the formation of the seasonal blotches  and fans from Martian year to year and throughout a given season.

We’ll keep you posted about the gold standard data and our analysis as it continues to develop. Stay tuned to the blog for more updates about the paper as we get further into the Summer.