Planet generator

The planet-map generator shown of this page has been developed in small increments over more than 20 years, so the code is a bit messy. But if you just want to run the program, this shouldn't matter for you.

As of Febrary 2013, a web interface is available. It does not have all the options of the offline version, and (so as to not overburden the server, which I share with many others) the size of maps is limited. But it is easier to use and does not require any installation.

The offline program (which you can download below) runs from a command line, so no fancy GUI. Lots of command-line options, though. A thing to note if you are using both the web tool and the offline program is that seeds in the web tool are integers that get "0." prefixed to then to get the equivalent for seed for the offline version. So, for example, the seed 1111111 in the web tool corresponds to the option "-s 0.1111111" in the offline program.

Both the program itself and maps created by the program are free for use, modification and reproduction, both privately and for commercial purposes, as long as this does not limit what other people may do with the program and images they produce with the program. For example, you can not copyright an image produced by the program unless you have substantially modified it afterwards, because other people might use the same parameters as you used to produce the same image. If you add code to the program that you do not wish to share, you can claim copyright for the code you write yourself, but that does not extend to the program as a whole. If you are in doubt about any particular use, you are welcome to contact me using the email address at the bottom if this page.

A few examples of maps generated by the program are shown below. Click on the pictures to see larger versions.

Mollweide projection
Mollweide projection of full planet with 30 gridlines
Stereographic projection
Stereographic projection of detail (with daylight shading)
Mercator projection
Mercator projection of another planet with 15 gridlines
Orthographic projection
Orthographic projection of same
Old-style map (detail) Old-style map (full planet)
Using monochrome colour map (yellow.col), bumpmap and outline to emulate old-style maps. The map on the left is a detail (using Mercator projection) of the planet on the right (which is shown using the square projection).

Download zip file

Last update: May 3 2016.

The zip file contains the source code (in C), a manual and a few other files. A Windows executable (for the command-line) is included. You need a C compiler to compile the program for other platforms.

Note that, in March 2016 a change has been made to how maps are generated, so if you want to recreate old maps, use the old zip file below.

Download old zip file

Last update: November 12 2014.

Download Windows executable

Last update: May 3 2016.

This is compiled with the Tiny C compiler, so no fancy optimisations are applied. You may also want files (e.g. colour maps) from the zip file.

Download old Windows executable

Last update: November 12 2014.

See manual

Last update: May 3 2016.

The manual is a plain text file describing command-line options and instructions for compiling the program. Note that the -T option is only available in the new version.

Conference slides

The slides explain how the maps are generated and compares to other map-generation techniques.


Torben Mogensen
DIKU, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 5, DK-2100 København Ø
E-mail: torbenm@di.ku.dk Telephone: (+45) 21 84 96 72 Fax: (+45) 35 32 14 01