The Polar Geospatial Center is dedicated to providing support to federally-funded researchers in the Arctic and Antarctic. All of our services are of no cost to those affiliated in polar research. We work with researchers, logistics & operations staff, and military personnel on a variety of problems and solutions. The sections below describe our primary GIS services, but we’re always willing to discuss a solution with you and your team.

Imagery Delivery & Analysis

The PGC holds an extensive collection of satellite imagery and aerial photography at varying resolutions. We can process and delivery imagery to federally-funded researchers, but most datasets are directly available for download from our satellite imagery page or aerial photography page. Included are the Alaskan High Altitude Aerial Photography (AHAP) Program, Antarctic TMA Aerial Photographs, Landsat and MODIS imagery, among others. If you are interested in obtaining high-resolution satellite imagery datasets, please contact Cole Kelleher and specify your area of interest and affiliation.

We also employ a remote sensing staff to assist in remote sensing analysis of your imagery. We provide analysis such as NDVI or land-use/land-cover. If you have any remote sensing or imagery questions, please contact our remote sensing specialist, Claire Porter.

Custom Map Requests

Heading to the field? Need a map diagram for your publication? The PGC has staff trained in cartography and GIS to specifically create custom maps for your project. Some common map request types are:

  • Large-scale maps for fieldwork or camp location planning
  • Large-scale maps for helicopter or fixed-wing landing site reconnaissance
  • Medium-scale reference/topographic maps for field study locations
  • Location maps for scientific publications, presentations, or posters
  • Daily update maps for overland traverses, vessel research, or monitoring ice conditions
  • Special purpose maps with thematic or scientific data (e.g. environmental monitoring or sampling sites)

To request a custom map, you can fill out the request form, or contact our lead cartographer, Brad Herried. To fulfill your request, we typically allow 4-6 weeks, depending on the complexity of the request, to work with you to specify details and allow for us to compile data and assemble the map. We provide printing services, but typically distribute maps in digital form (PDF, JPG, GeoTIFF). The PGC also staffs an office in McMurdo Station, Antarctica from October to February; feel free to stop by and meet us in person!

Map Repository

The PGC also holds a large collection of Antarctic maps in digital form. Included are series from the Antarctic and Arctic from many organizations and decades. In collaboration with the United States Geological Survey’s Antarctic Resource Center, the PGC holds and digitally preserves the entire reconnaissance mapping series and satellite maps. The PGC also digitally stores geologic maps from the American Geographical Society, historic Antarctic nautical charts, and many others. If you cannot find a map of a specific region or time, it may still exist, especially since the PGC creates more than 100 maps per year and we are still adding to the collection. Due to licensing and other restrictions, some of the maps are not be publicly available; send us your request and we may be able to provide these maps to you.

GIS Data & Analysis

The PGC employs both full-time and student staff trained in the latest GIS software and techniques. Although we are not a primary data creator for the polar regions, we use and distribute many datasets for basemaps and operations. Our GIS data page displays links to external resources or data direct for download. We provide analysis with geospatial data (raster and vector) including, but not limited to, imagery/spectral analysis, modeling, DEM creation and manipulation, raster processing, line-of-sight and transect analysis, and database creation and maintenance. In the past, the PGC has been a tremendous resource for researchers and logistics staff alike to make sense of their field or logistics data. Even if it’s as simple as plotting coordinates on a map, the PGC can assist! Contact Cole Kelleher to discuss details.