PDC Geospatial Search

Version 6.1
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Polar Data Catalogue
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RADARSAT Arctic SAR Imagery
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RADARSAT Mosaics of Antarctica
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Polar Data Catalogue Search
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RADARSAT Polar Science Search
CIS Sea Ice Charts Search
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Antarctica RADARSAT Search
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Data Collection: Polar Data Catalogue

The Polar Data Catalogue is an online database of metadata and data that describes, indexes and provides access to diverse data sets generated by Arctic and Antarctic researchers. Since its online launch in 2007, the PDC has rapidly gained popularity, and other programs such as the Government of Canada Program for IPY 2007-2008 and the Northern Contaminants Program have decided to use the PDC to archive their metadata and datasets. The records cover a wide range of disciplines from natural sciences and policy, to health and social sciences. In addition to its focus on the Canadian Arctic, the PDC serves research products from other locations in the circumpolar Arctic as well as the Antarctic. As the PDC collection grows, it forms a solid foundation for national and international data sharing and advancement of cryospheric science and knowledge. Through consultations with partners and users, it is clear that residents in northern Canada want to know more about research conducted in the Arctic. The PDC search capability has thus been developed to help meet the needs of northern communities.

CCIN UW ArcticNet

Data Collection: RADARSAT Polar Science Dataset

During its operation (1995-2013), the RADARSAT-1 satellite and sensors collected synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery, including a significant portion which is attributable to the systematic data collection effort of the Background Mission. The archive of imagery developed during the Background Mission has emphasized, among other things, the RADARSAT imaging capabilities during times of inclement weather and low illumination conditions.  Practical experience by operational users has demonstrated that RADARSAT imagery is an excellent and reliable source for mapping and monitoring sea ice and other cryospheric features in northern latitudes during different times of the year. RADARSAT-1 has collected an incredible wealth of SAR imagery over polar regions, including northern Canada, and a large portion of this archive is available through the RADARSAT Polar Science Dataset. The available dataset is composed of the following elements:
  • Blanket coverage in Fine Beam Mode of the Canadian polar region and the Arctic Archipelago (collected during the Canadian Interferometric Mission, 2000-2001)
  • Maximum and minimum ice extent Arctic snapshots from 2003 to 2006 - the ScanSAR Seasonal Circum-Polar snapshots
  • Thematically-relevant imagery acquired over specific areas of interest (Supersites) identified by the cryospheric and remote sensing research communities
  • Canadian Ice Service dataset acquired since 1996
  • Canadian Arctic land mass mosaics - summer and winter 1998 - 1999
Data Collection: Canadian Ice Service Sea Ice Charts

The Canadian Ice Service (CIS) has an enormous collection of ice-related information from Canadian waters that is being made available through the Polar Data Catalogue for public and research use. Weekly Regional ice charts and Image Analysis charts are currently available in the PDC, and summary information on Ship and Aerial observations is available, soon to be augmented with the corresponding charts.

Sea ice conditions are increasingly variable in the Canadian Arctic and present an ongoing challenge to sustainable and safe development. To properly characterise climate change processes, as well as accurately forecast current and future sea ice conditions in Canadian Arctic waters, robust ice datasets are being made available online in easy-to-access tools.

Funding to support online provision of the CIS collection has been provided by the Beaufort Regional Environmental Assessment program of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. Project partners were the Canadian Ice Service, Canadian Cryospheric Information Network, Université Laval and Ryerson University.


Data Collection: RADARSAT Mosaics of Antarctica

The RADARSAT-1 Antarctic Mapping Project (RAMP) and RADARSAT-2 Antarctic Mapping Initiative were undertaken to provide snapshots of the Antarctic continent over a span of years, to document the state of the ice cover in Antarctica and to show changes over time in the land and sea ice around the southern continent. RAMP was a collaboration between the Canadian Space Agency and the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to map Antarctica using the RADARSAT-1 Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) in two missions. The first, the Antarctic Mapping Mission 1 (AMM-1), completed in September-October 1997, maneuvered the RADARSAT-1 satellite to a left-looking "Antarctic Mode" to capture the entirety of the continent, developing the first high-resolution SAR mosaic of Antarctica. The second, the Modified Antarctic Mapping Mission (MAMM), completed in September-November 2000, captured imagery north of 80°S all the way to the Antarctic coast, in both ascending and descending orbits. The objective of this mission was to observe changes in the ice sheet from the 1997 AMM-1 dataset and to use the multiple acquisitions to estimate the surface velocity of target areas of the ice sheet.


The RADARSAT-2 Antarctic Mapping Initiative, completed in October-December 2008, was undertaken to produce a continental mosaic consistent with the 1997 RADARSAT-1 Antarctic Mapping Mission. The resulting mosaics and individual tiles, produced in collaboration with the Byrd Polar Research Center, cover all the way to the South Pole, repeating the coverage of the 1997 mission. In addition to enhancing the achievements of the RADARSAT-1 Antarctic missions, the intent of the 2008 mission was to facilitate change analysis through space-borne observation of ice sheets. Such data are important for generation of global climate products, including models. The 2008 mission was the result of international collaboration associated with the International Polar Year (IPY) and is a Canadian Space Agency contribution to IPY, incorporating input from the scientific community, with the goal of making science products available for free.