Shaded image of Antarctica

The Antarctic Digital database was originally published on CD, and the details below refer to the original publication. A new version, ADD V2.0, has been created and is available on the WWW at

The Antarctic digital topographic database (ADD) is provided on one compact disc (CD-ROM), and is accessible through PC ArcView, PC ARC/INFO® and PC ArcCAD. It is formatted for MS-DOS systems only. The database can be used either directly from the CD or it can be down-loaded on to PCs. The CD includes several preconstructed views intended for display with ArcView version 1. These views can be used as a tutorial to introduce the user to the database and to illustrate its potential.

A User's Guide and Reference Manual accompanies the CD. It contains detailed information on the content of the database, its coverages and attributes, and includes lists of all approved Antarctic conservation areas and scientific stations active in 1992. It also contains a detailed bibliography of the source material used in the preparation of the ADD.

The ADD has been designed for scientific GIS applications and for educational uses. The ADD is the product of an international collaborative project, co-ordinated in the UK by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) and World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) under the auspices of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and its Working Group on Geodesy and Geographic Information. It represents a major development in Antarctic mapping, providing access to the first seamless digital map of Antarctica, with the most up-to-date and complete coastline of the continent now available in digital form. The database has been prepared from cartographic material published by 11 nations, updated with reference to satellite imagery. Argentina, Australia, China, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Poland and the UK provided digital data and Japan, Russia and the USA gave permission for their maps to be digitized for the project.

The work was funded generously by The British Petroleum Company p.l.c. and to a lesser extent by BAS. The database incorporates a small part of preliminary Antarctic revision work by Petroconsultants (CES) Ltd for their digital map of the world. The Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. assisted during the final stages of CD production.

Database structure

The ADD is provided on CD as ARC/INFO coverages suitable for use in an MS-DOS operating environment. All data are projected into the Polar Stereographic projection with a standard latitude of 71º S, and a central meridian of 0º . The co-ordinates are in metres, with the origin at the South Pole. The spheroid used is GRS80. ADD data have single co-ordinate precision (up to seven digits for each co-ordinate).

The database has been divided into two distinct datasets:

  1. A detailed dataset, comprising data at the original scale of the source material and also data generalized to 1:1,000,000 scale. This will be of most use for research applications since it contains most known information published on medium-scale and smaller-scale maps of Antarctica. Furthermore, the details have been revised in the light of new knowledge, obtained mostly from satellite images.

  2. Generalized datasets (AV) at scales of 1:3,000,000, 1:10,000,000 and 1:30,000,000, which provide small-scale overviews of the whole continent for the more casual user. Preconstructed views of this second set on the CD are available for use with ArcView Version 1.

The CD also includes information on Conservation Areas, additional datasets such as large-scale maps of Chinese Antarctic stations, extra place-names, information on penguin populations, and satellite altimetry. Specially designed symbol sets are also provided to enable the use of internationally accepted symbols in ArcView.

The tiling scheme used to subdivide the basic-scale data and the 1:1,000,000 scale dataset corresponds to the boundaries of the International Map of the World (IMW) 1:1,000,000 scale map sheets. 1:3,000,000, 1:10,000,000 and 1:30,000,000 data are not tiled.

The data in each tile are divided into feature layers, such as cliffs, coastline, contours, rock outcrop, etc. All data have point, polygon or arc attribute tables that contain further information about each feature.

Place-names provided in digital form by four nations have been incorporated into a hierarchical structure prepared especially for the ADD. This tree-structured database will enable the selection of names appropriate to the scale of a given map. Other place-names datasets that arrived too late to be incorporated in the hierarchy are available on the CD as an additional dataset.

Revision of the database

In order to maintain the currency of the database and to improve its usefulness, it would be appreciated if comments and corrections concerning the ADD are submitted in writing. Please send any comments or corrections by email to Janet Thomson

PC ARC/INFO is a registered trademark, and ArcView and ArcCAD are trademarks of the Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. IBM is a registered trademark of International Business Machine, Inc. MS-DOS is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation.

© 1993 Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research. Version 1.0. All rights reserved.

Ordering Information

The Antarctic Digital Database CD-ROM and manual is available only from:

Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research
Scott Polar Research Institute
Lensfield Road
Telephone: +44 1223 362061
Fax: +44 1223 336549
Email: SCAR