Surveying Antarctica: from dogsled to satellite

Air and Space


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Base maps of Antarctica are needed at scales of 1:250,000 to plot scientific data, yet after 20 years of a major mapping effort, only about 20 percent of the continent has been accurately mapped using aerial photographs and ground surveys. Encompassing nearly 14.3 million square kilometers (5.5 million square miles), Antarctica still presents a formidable mapping task. Except for the area around the geographic South Pole, Landsat could, in just a few years, provide the images to planimetrically map Antarctica at such scales as 1:250,000. Just 11 Landsat images would encompass the same area mapped to date at a 1:250,000 scale. Navigation satellite data from ground stations can provide the necessary horizontal and vertical ground control in many areas. Other polar orbiting satellites could be used to establish elevation profiles of the ice surfaces on Antarctica. If this presently available space technology is fully utilized, the scientific exploration of the huge Antarctic continent will be greatly accelerated, fulfilling one of the goals Commander Byrd began to work toward 50 years ago.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Surveying Antarctica: from dogsled to satellite
Series title Air and Space
Volume 3
Issue 1
Year Published 1979
Language English
Publisher National Air and Space Museum
Publisher location Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
Description 2 p.
First page 3
Last page 4
Other Geospatial Antarctica
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