BAS launches comprehensive open-access digital maps of Antarctica

BAS launches comprehensive open-access digital maps of Antarctica

British Antarctic Survey has announced that comprehensive digital maps of Antarctica are now available to all, following the latest update of the Antarctic Digital Database. A new map viewer brings together all of the Antarctic Digital Database datasets, alongside further useful information, and displays them in an open-access interactive website.

Antarctica is a fast-changing environment, and it is the job of the Mapping and Geographic Information Centre (MAGIC) at British Antarctic Survey (BAS) to keep maps and data up to date, to aid safe travel and work on the continent. As part of this work, MAGIC compiles, manages and distributes data that makes up the Antarctic Digital Database – a Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) project that provides a seamless compilation of topographic data, including coastline and contours. 

Physical changes

The release of the open-access digital viewer coincides with the latest data updates, which document physical changes in Antarctica. The extents of some ice shelves have been revised to reflect areas where icebergs have calved from the continent and regions where the ice shelves have extended by moving away from the land.

The coastline of the South Orkney Islands, the northernmost group of islands in Antarctica, has also been updated. The ice loss in these islands has resulted in smaller glaciers than previously shown, and new islands have emerged where glaciers have receded, uncovering previously hidden land.

Improvements in imagery have allowed for better mapping of certain offshore rocks and islands. This enhanced data enables more precise location of small islands that might have been previously misplaced on maps or not shown at all.

It is possible to view and query the data, as well as read full metadata records and download the data from the BAS data catalogue.

The new Antarctic Digital Database map viewer can be accessed here.

The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) Antarctic Digital Database (ADD) is a comprehensive and seamless compilation of topographic data for Antarctica extending to 60°S. (Image courtesy: British Antarctic Survey, NOAA/NCEI)
Geomatics Newsletter

Value staying current with geomatics?

Stay on the map with our expertly curated newsletters.

We provide educational insights, industry updates, and inspiring stories to help you learn, grow, and reach your full potential in your field. Don't miss out - subscribe today and ensure you're always informed, educated, and inspired.

Choose your newsletter(s)