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OpenCraterTool: Determining and comparing crater size-frequency measurements in QGIS

Presentation #117.09 in the session Open Science and Data Tools (Poster + Lightning Talk)

Published onOct 23, 2023
OpenCraterTool: Determining and comparing crater size-frequency measurements in QGIS

Impact crater size-frequency measurements (CSFD) are key to date and investigate surface processes on terrestrial planetary bodies (e.g., Hartmann, 1970). Based on the work of Kneissl et al. (2011) on CraterTools for the commercial ArcGIS, we have developed the free and open source OpenCraterTool, that enables a map projection-independent determination of crater sizes. Users can choose any map projection that is suitable for the research area. Internally, different map projections are used to take advantage of equidistance or equality of area. The tool was developed as a plugin for the geoinformation system QGIS and is thus available to a broad audience, since QGIS is available for various operating systems and no commercial licenses are required. Furthermore, the open source character of our tool allows users to verify the functionality of the tool and the reproducibility of the results. The OpenCraterTool can be obtained directly from the QGIS plugin repository. In addition to the crater counting methods, the OpenCraterTool provides further functions to export, import, and to evaluate crater measurements. In particular, the new comparison method allows a quantified comparison of two crater measurements. This function first identifies the matching pairs of craters, and then computes statistics such as the mean ratio, the absolute and relative mean differences as well as the over- and undercounted craters. Using the OpenCraterTool, we compared five global lunar crater datasets; three datasets based on manual crater measurements (Head et al., 2010; Povilaitis et al., 2018; Robbins, 2019) and two machine learning products (Salamunićcar et al., 2014; Wang et al., 2021). Our comparative analysis has revealed substantial differences in both the number of craters and crater diameters. In particular, two catalogs contain nearly three times as many craters as the two smaller catalogs in the analyzed crater diameter range (> 5 km). The mean relative differences of the crater diameters ranged from 0.4 to 2.3% for the compared catalogs. The differences in crater diameter, as well as the number of over- and undercounted craters, have noticeable effects on the age determination of the surfaces.

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