Quantarctica is a collection of Antarctic geographical datasets for research, education, operations, and management in Antarctica, and is free to download and redistribute. Our Editorial Board hand-picked state-of-the-art, peer reviewed Antarctic data for Quantarctica, and we make it easy to explore, import, visualize, and share Antarctic data whether you're in the field, office, or classroom.
A free GIS for Antarctica
Geographical Information System (GIS) software is designed to capture, store, analyze and view all types of geographical data.
QGIS is a great free alternative to commercial GIS software: Open source, cross-platform, user-friendly and fully capable as a data viewer, data analysis environment, and publication-grade map and figure designer. Since its release in 2002, the developer community has grown steadily, and remains active. For you, that means regular updates and a variety of available plugins.
It also works without Internet access, so you can bring your GIS software to remote areas during field campaigns.
The Quantarctica data package comprises Antarctic geographic data from data centres worldwide – all wrapped in a project file that works on QGIS. The name "Quantarctica" originated from the old version of QGIS, "Quantum GIS" + Antarctica = Quantarctica.
Kenny is a senior researcher at NPI, and has spent over ten field seasons in Antarctica, most recently as part of the MADICE Indo-Norwegian collaboration in Dronning Maud Land. The idea that would eventually become Quantarctica was rooted in a painful experience in his first season as a PI, when his commercial GIS software expired during a traverse in the middle of the Antarctic ice sheet.
Anders is a cartographer and topographer at the NPI's mapping section, and has produced numerous award-winning maps of the Arctic and Antarctic. He co-founded Quantarctica with Kenny in 2012 and is responsible for compiling and building the basemap layers, layer styling, labeling, and technical optimizations that make Quantarctica look great in any figure or map.
George coordinated the development of Quantarctica 3 from 2016-2018, managing the Editorial Board, discovering and importing new datasets, creating promotional materials, and teaching user workshops.
Head, Environmental Data section, NPI
Head, Mapping section, NPI
The Quantarctica Editorial Board
In 2017, the Quantarctica Project Team assembled an Editorial Board of international experts to review and recommend peer-reviewed scientific datasets for all of Quantarctica 3's scientific themes.
The Quantarctica package
Quantarctica includes a wide variety of basemap and scientific data. In most cases, the datasets are provided at full resolution and are ready to analyze. You can also mix and match different datasets to create your own custom Quantarctica environment, import them in other software, or share them freely with colleagues.
We provide all metadata and citation information for every dataset in the data folder and in the QGIS project to make using, re-using, and citing data easy!
Take a look at the Data Catalog to see what's included!
Quantarctica was originally developed for in-house use at the Norwegian Polar Institute. Development on a public version started in 2012, and the first version was released in 2013. In 2014, Quantarctica 2 was released, and was recognized as a SCAR product. 2018 saw the release of version 3, which dramatically expanded the breadth and depth of the scientific data package and our outreach efforts.
Your own data can easily be included. Therefore, Quantarctica provides a nice platform for your own GIS package.
So far, we've used Quantarctica to:
- Examine geographical data at a range of scales (continental to local)
- Prepare maps for publications and proposals
- View project data together with continental datasets
- Plot GPS-provided current positions with satellite images and other scientific data during field campaigns (real-time GPS positioning using a QGIS plugin)
It could also be a useful tool for teaching about Antarctica in classrooms.
The Quantarctica package is published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
In published works produced using Quantarctica, you are required to cite each dataset that was used in the work. Quantarctica provides all dataset citation information in each layer’s Metadata tab in QGIS, in a text file in the data folder, and in the online Quantarctica Data Catalog.
All geographic names in Quantarctica are provided by the original datasets.
Contact the original data authors for further clarification if necessary.
You are required to acknowledge or cite Quantarctica and the Norwegian Polar Institute in your work.
Please email if you have any questions or concerns about these policies.