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SCAR XXXIV WP21: Report on SCAGI (Standing Committee on Antarctic Geographic Information)
XXXIV SCAR Delegates Meeting
29 - 30 August 2016, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

SCAR XXXIV WP21: Report on SCAGI (Standing Committee on Antarctic Geographic Information)

Working Paper: 21
Agenda Item: 5.2
Posted/Revised: 2 Aug 2016

Presentation: pdf Agenda Item 5.2 (804 KB)

Executive Summary:

Authors: Adrian Fox (British Antarctic Survey) and Jean-Yves Pirlot (IGN, Belgium), co-chairs

Introduction/ Background:

All work in Antarctica relies on a consistent geographic framework, and the main function of the Standing Committee on Antarctic Geographic Information (SCAGI) is to manage and improve the geographic framework not only for Antarctic scientific research but also for other activities including operations, environmental management and tourism. SCAGI continues to deliver, and actively develop, a range of Geographic Information products through its various projects. These products include: the SCAR Composite Gazetteer of Antarctica, the SCAR Antarctic Digital Database, the SCAR Map Catalogue and the Air Operations Planning Maps series. The usage statistics included in the report below show that these are active products that are used and valued by the Antarctic community.

SCAGI integrates topographic and names information received from national Antarctic programmes into the SCAR ADD and SCAR Composite Gazetteer of Antarctica. In keeping with Article III.1.c of the Treaty that Scientific observations and results from Antarctica shall be exchanged and made freely available, SCAGI promotes an open standards approach to support free and unrestricted data access and develops the respective specifications.

Important Issues or Factors:

Most of the effort in SCAGI comes from a few committed members. To ensure maximum effectiveness for SCAR, SCAGI is focusing its limited resources on delivering the four main SCAR- SCAGI products: Composite Gazetteer of Antarctica (CGA), Antarctic Digital Database (ADD), SCAR Map Catalogue (MapCat) and Air Operations Planning Maps series.

The SCAR products can only be as good as the data that are in them. It is critical for the continued relevance and utility of the SCAR-SCAGI products that SCAR members contribute all new maps, topographic data, and place-names information to the ADD, MapCat and CGA in a timely manner.

The SCAR Composite Gazetteer of Antarctica is a key product for SCAGI that is widely used by the Antarctic community (see usage statistics below). It has for many years been managed by Roberto Cervellati and Chiara Ramorino, of the Italian National Antarctic Research Programme (PNRA). During 2015 responsibility for managing the CGA transferred to Prof Carlo Baroni, and Mrs Jaqueline Muller, University of Pisa. Our Italian colleagues collaborate closely with the Australian Antarctic Data Centre (Ursula Harris) for delivery of the CGA.

Recommendations/Actions and Justification:

Delegates should ensure that they are familiar with the work that SCAGI does and encourage their national representatives to become involved with and contribute all new data to SCAGI products. Delegates should ensure that retiring national representatives are replaced with a successor national representative and that the SCAGI co-Chairs are informed of this change.

The current contacts are listed at

Expected Benefits/Outcomes:

Wider engagement by the Antarctic community would help SCAGI to continue to develop, and deliver effectively, reliable relevant Geographic Information Services to the Antarctic science and operations communities. Maintaining the position of SCAR as the source of Geographic Information Services such as the ADD and CGA supports the SCAR Strategic Plan objective of an international leadership role for SCAR.

Partners: SCADM, SCAR member countries, other organizations with an interest in Antarctic geographic Information such as COMNAP, CCAMLR, Antarctic Treaty System, IHO, NASA, Google, International Steering Committee for Global Mapping.

Budget Implications:

For the SCAR CGA and SCAR ADD to be improved, it requires that, either SCAGI members take on the necessary work or the work is outsourced. Continuation of $4k a year allocation.