March 08, 2007

USGS Collaborates with NASA on View of Antarctica

This interesting update from the USGS about a cool project in Antarctica developing a versatile map of Antarctica using satellite imagery. The Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica or LIMA combines nearly 1100 hand-selected Landsat satellite scenes that are being digitally woven together to create a single, seamless, cloud-free image of the Antarctic continent—the most detailed color representation of this vast and frozen landmass ever produced. The National Science Foundation is funding the LIMA project.  The scenes being used to create the new mosaic map of Antarctica were drawn from more than 8,000 collected by Landsat 7’s Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) sensor from 1999 through 2006. The digital weaving, or mosaicking, of Landsat scenes for most of the continent is being performed at the USGS Center for Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS); BAS researchers are generating the Antarctic Peninsula region of the map. While Landsat scenes make up most of the map’s digital dataset, some images captured by Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments carried aboard NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites, and possibly a small amount of radar data, will be used to fill in the part the Antarctic continent surrounding the geographic South Pole not “seen” by Landsat 7 as it circles the Earth in its near-polar orbit.  In conjunction with the new mosaic, researchers with the LIMA project are creating an Antarctic Web portal and online map which will be available in the near future. For more information about the Landsat Program, visit

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