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SCAR Report No 20 May 2001

SCAR Working Group on Geodesy and Geographic Information
Report of the Second SCAR Antarctic Geodesy Symposium,
Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, 14-16 July, 1999

Polish Polar Research (an outline)

Krzysztof Birkenmajer

Institute of Geological Sciences (Cracow Research Centre), Polish Academy of Sciences,

Senacka 3, 31-002 Kraków, Poland


Polish scientific exploration of the Arctic started in the 19th century, long before Poland regained its independence in 1918. Several generations of Polish scientists imprisoned by tzarist oppressors for their patriotic activities and deported to Siberia, especially after unsuccessful upsurges of 1830-31 and 1863, contributed enormously to geographical discoveries and pioneered biological and geological research in the Siberian Arctic and Subarctic. Earth scientists, Aleksander Czekanowski (1833-1876) and Jan Czerski (1845-1892), should be listed among the most famous.

Polish Antarctic tradition goes back to the participation of Henryk Arctowski (1871-1958) and Antoni Boleslaw Dobrowolski (1872-1954) in the famous Belgian Expedition in Belgica to West Antarctica (1897-1899) led by Adrien de Gerlache de Gomery. H. Arctowski, a geophysicist and geologist, was in charge of the expedition's scientific program, A. B. Dobrowolski, then a university student, was first employed as a sailor, later - during wintering in Antarctica, turned meteorologist and specialist on snow and ice.

ArcticExpeditions to Svalbard, 1932-1938

Four Polish expeditions were sent to Svalbard in the Arctic prior to World War II. The first was organized by J. Lugeon, director of the State Meteorological Institute in Warsaw, to Bear Island (Björnöya), in connection with the 2nd Polar Year (1932-1933). Its program included research in meteorology, geomagnetism, aurora borealis, solar radiation and radio noise. The expedition consisted of five men, three of whom, led by C. Centkiewicz, stayed for the wintering.

Experience gained on Bear Island helped to organize in 1934 the first Spitsbergen expedition of seven men (leader S. Bernadzikiewicz) by the Polish Mountaineering Club. Scientific tasks of the 2-month long summer expedition to north-west Torell Land included: trigonometric and photogrammetric surveys, geological studies, botanic and ornithological observations. During theexpedition, S. Zagrajski and A. Zawadzki prepared a detailed topographic map, 1:50,000 scale, covering some 500 square kms, which was used by S. Z. Rozycki as a base for his geological and periglacial studies. His geological monograph of the area (published in 1959) is among classic pieces of geological studies of Svalbard. Numerous peaks were climbed for the first time.

The 1936 expedition to Spitsbergen was an adventurous one. A three-man party Bernadzikiewicz, K. Jodko-Narkiewicz and S. Siedlecki) crossed the island on skis from south to north in six weeks, covering a distance of more than 800 kms. Although no scientific research was made, two of the expedition members, already veterans of the previous Polish expeditions to Svalbard, gained further experience, invaluable for future Polish exploration in the Arctic.

The 4-man expedition to Oscar II Land, north-west Spitsbergen, in 1938 (leader S. Bernadzikiewicz) studied glaciology and geomorphology along eastern coast of Forlandsundet from a summer camp at Kaffiöyra. The most important scientific result was a geomorphological monograph of the area by M. Klimaszewski (published in 1960).

Expedition to West Greenland, 1937

The 7-man expedition to West Greenland (leader A. Kosiba) lasted for three summer months in the area of Arfersiorfik. They carried out photogrammetrical survey, meteorological observations, glaciological, geological, geomorphological and botanic studies.

IIIrd IGY/IGC expeditions to Spitsbergen, 1956-1962

Polish expeditions to Spitsbergen were resumed in connection with the IIIrd International Geophysical Year (IGY: 1957-1958), and continued during the International Geophysical Co-operation (IGC: 1959-1960). The expeditions were sponsored by the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAS). In 1957, a scientific station was built at Isbjörnhamna, Hornsund, south Spitsbergen, which provides a permanent base for Polish expeditions to this day. The leader of the expeditions was S. Siedlecki, a geologist - a veteran of the Polish expeditions to Bear Island (1932-3), Spitsbergen (1934, 1936) and West Greenland (1937).

During six seasons: 1956 (summer, 5 men); 1957-1960 (four summer expeditions, 25-36 participants); 1957/8 (wintering, 10 men); 1962 (summer, 3 men), scientific investigations were carried out mainly around Hornsund, in Wedel Jarlsberg Land, Torell Land and Sörkapp Land, moreover at Van Keulenfjorden (central Spitsbergen). They included: meteorology; geomagnetism; aurora borealis; ionospheric studies; ozone measurements; radioactivity of atmospheric fall-out; geodetic survey; astronomic observations; limnology; oceanography; botany and zoology; glaciology (leader A. Kosiba); geomorphology and periglacial studies (leaders J. Dylik and A. Jahn); geology and palaeontology (leader K. Birkenmajer). More


than 300 original scientific papers were published as a result of these expeditions. The geological studies included i.a. geological mapping to 1:50,000 scale of about 800 square kms in Wedel Jarlsberg Land, Torell Land and Sörkapp Land - a direct continuation of S. Z. Rozycki's work from 1934. In 1960, the Polish station hosted scientific excursions of the International Geological Congress (Copenhagen) and the International Geographical Congress (Stockholm).

Poles in Norwegian expeditions to Svalbard, 1962-1990

Several Polish Earth scientists (4 geologists and 1 geomorphologist) participated in the expeditions of the Norwegian Polar Institute to south and central Spitsbergen (between Sörkapp Land and Van Keulenfjorden) and Bear Island, as leaders or members of field parties, in 1962, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1970 and 1990.

Expeditions to Spitsbergen, 1970 to present

After a 10-year break, summer scientific expeditions to the Polish Station at Isbjörnhamna, Hornsund, were resumed. Sponsored by the Polish National Committee on Geodesy and Geophysics, PAS, they were organized by the Wroclaw University in co-operation with the Institute of Geophysics, PAS, from 1970 to 1974 under leadership of S. Baranowski. The scientific research included mainly climatology, glaciology and glacial seismology, geomorphology and periglacial studies, but also geology and palaeontology, zoology and botany, mainly around Hornsund, partly also in Isfjorden. The expeditions of 1974 and 1975 were organized jointly with the institutes of Palaeozoology and of Geological Sciences, PAS (co-leaders G. Biernat and K. Birkenmajer).

In 1978, the Polish Station at Isbjörnhamna was renovated by an expedition of the Institute of Geophysics, PAS (leader J. Szupryczynski). Since then, scientific research is carried at the station on a yearly basis (base commander S. M. Zalewski). It includes mainly geophysical observations (seismicity, Earth magnetism, climatology, glaciology), but also geology and paleontology, geomorphology and periglacial studies, zoology and botany, special environmental research, oceanology etc.

Two Polish summer field stations are in operation in the Hornsund area: the Baranowski Glaciological Station at Werenskiolldbreen, and the Paleontology Hut at Treskelen.

Numerous, separate research expeditions using, at least partly, logistic support of the Polish Scientific Station at Isbjörnhamna, were organized since 1978 by the Institute of Geological Sciences PAS (leader K. Birkenmajer) and the Institute of Palaeobiology, PAS (leaders G. Biernat and H. Szaniawski), the Jagiellonian University, Cracow (leader Z. Czeppe), the universities of Wroclaw (leaders A. Jahn and J. Pereyma) and Silesia (leader M. Pulina), the Academy of Mining and Metallurgy in Cracow (leaders J. Chrzastowski and A. Manecki), the Association of Polish Geodesists (leader C. Lipert), and others.

The University of Torun resumed in 1975, during summer months, glaciological, climatological, hydrological and geomorphological research (leaders J. Szupryczy_ski and G. Wojcik) in Oscar II Land (NW Spitsbergen) at Kaffiöyra - site of the Polish 1938 expedition. Since 1995, their own small station at Kaffiöyra is being used on a yearly basis (leader M. Grzes).

Since 1978, geomorphological and glaciological research has been carried out during summer in central Spitsbergen by the universities of Warsaw (in western part of Nordenskiöld Land, leader A. Musial), Poznan (in inner Isfjorden, leader W. Stankowski), and Lublin (Bellsund and NW Wedel Jarlsberg Land, leader K. Pekala). An important component of these studies is a detailed geodetic/topographic survey of selected areas.

Oceanographic and oceanobiological research was carried out by marine expeditions to south Spitsbergen (mainly Hornsund) in 1977, 1979, 1980 and 1981, organized by the Gdansk University and the Maritime Academy in Gdynia. Training courses in oceanography were carried out by an expedition to Bellsund in 1977, organized by the Maritime Academy and the Academy of Agriculture in Szczecin.

Poland-USA scientific co-operation in Spitsbergen, 1974-1979

A joint research program of the Institute of Geophysics, PAS, and the University of St Louis (USA), concerned palaeomagnetism of Spitsbergen rocks, and seismology. The field work was carried out at Hornsund (1974: leader K. Birkenmajer), Agardhbukta (1977: leader Birkenmajer) and at Isfjorden (1979: leader M. Jelenska).

Geophysical expeditions in 1976 and 1978 on board R/V Kopernik (leader A. Guterch), carried out deep seismic sounding of the Earth's crust along western Spitsbergen shelf and adjoining part of Greenland Sea. Institute of Geophysics, PAS (in co-operation with the Geophysical Enterprise in Torun, Poland), and the universities of St Louis (USA), Bergen (Norway) and Hamburg (FRG) were the participants.

Expeditions to Iceland, 1968-1972

Two scientific expeditions, organized by the Geographical Society of Poland in 1968 (leader R. Galon), and by the Lodz University in 1972 (leader S. Jewtuchowicz), have initiated Polish glaciological and geomorphological research in southern part of Iceland. More research and student expeditions followed.

Jan Mayen, Greenland, Alaska, Arctic Canada and Siberia

A brief volcanological study, following eruption of the Beerenberg volcano on Jan Mayen in 1970, was carried out by K. Birkenmajer. He was also one of leaders of geological mapping parties during the Danish NorthEast Greenland expeditions of 1971 and 1976.


In 1973, an expedition from the Wroclaw University (leader J. Cegla) studied geomorphology and periglacial phenomena in Nordre Isortoq, West Greenland, close to the work area of the Polish 1937 expedition.

It should be added that geomorphology and periglacial phenomena were studied individually or within programs of foreign expeditions or institutions in

Alaska (by A. Jahn), Arctic Canada (by R. Gajda and A. Jahn), North Norway and Siberia (by A. Jahn), and Kola Peninsula (by K. Pekala and co-workers); geological mapping was carried out by A. Siedlecka and S. Siedlecki on Varanger Peninsula, North Norway; botanic studies in Canadian Arctic by M. Kuc included living and subfossil mosses.

  • Figure 1. Main areas of Polish scientific research in the Arctic (north of Polar Circle). 1 - W Torell Land; 2 - Oscar II Land; 3 - Hornsund; 4 - E Torell Land; 5 - Bellsund; 6 - Bear Island (Björnöya); 7 - Isfjorden; 8 - Agardhbukta; 9 - Arfersiorfik; 10 - Scoresby Land and Jameson Land; 11 - Kong Oscars Fjord - Clavering Ö; 12 - Jan Mayen

East Antarctica: Bunger Hills expeditions, 1957-1979

The first Pol ish expedition to Antarctica organized by the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAS) took place during the Austral summer 1958-59 (7 participants, leader W. Krzeminski). On agreement between the Soviet and the Polish Academies of Sciences, the expedition took over the Soviet Oazis Station at Bunger Hills (Knox Coast) in January, 1959, and renamed it the A. B. Dobrowolski Station.

The expedition carried out a time-limited research program in gravimetry, Quaternary geomorphology and geology.

Between 1959 and 1979 no Polish expeditions to the Dobrowolski Station were organized. The station was, however, visited by Polish scientists - members of the Soviet Antarctic expeditions. Individual Polish scientists and scientific teams did also winter in Antarctica at the Soviet Base Molodezhnaya.

The second expedition of 14 men to the Dobrowolski Station in 1978/79 (leader W. Krzeminski), carried out investigations in meteorology and climatology, glaciology, geomorphology and Quaternary geology, moreover astronomical, gravimetric and magnetic observations, and geodetic-photogrammetric survey. Since then, the station has been inactive.

West Antarctica: oceanobiological expeditions, 1974-1976

Three oceanobiological expeditions to Antarctic seas on board Polish research vessels were

organized between 1974 and 1976: the reconnaissance cruise in 1974 (R/V Profesor Siedlecki) was organized by the Sea Fisheries Institute (SFI), Gdynia; the main expeditions of 1975 and 1976 - by the Institute of Ecology, PAS, in cooperation with the SFI and the Academy of Agriculture in Szczecin. Since 1976, the Polish fishing fleets (fishing companies: Odra, Dalmor and Gryf) have been operating in the Atlantic sector of Antarctic waters, south of the convergence

West Antarctica: expeditions to King George Island, 1977 to present

In 1977, a second Polish scientific Antarctic station - the H. Arctowski Station at Admiralty Bay, King George Island (South Shetland Islands) was built by an expedition sent by the Institute of Ecology, PAS (leader S. Rakusa-Suszczewski). Since then, the station has been operating on a yearly basis, carrying out a variety of scientific research which includes, i.a.: meteorology and climatology; oceanography and oceanobiology; limnology; terrestrial and marine biota; geomorphology; geology and palaeontology (leader K. Birkenmajer); geodetic and photogrammetric surveys; seismicity and Earth's magnetism. Several institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences (I. of Ecology; I. of Geological Sciences; of Palaeobiology; I. of Geophysics; I. of Parasitology), the universities of Lodz, Szczecin, Gdansk, Poznan, Warsaw, Bialystok and Cracow, and many scientific institutions at home and abroad cooperate with the station in joint research programs.


West Antarctica: BIOMASS (1981-1987) and ASIZ (1988/9) expeditions

Poland took an active role in the international research project BIOMASS (Biological Investigations of Marine Antarctic Systems and Stocks), organizing three expeditions on board R/V Profesor Siedlecki to West Antarctic seas, mainly Bransfield Strait, Drake Passage and Scotia Sea: in 1981 (leaders S. Rakusa-Suszczewski and P. Bykowski); in 1983/4 (leaders S. Rakusa-Suszczewski and P. Bykowski); and in 1986/7 (leader S Rakusa -Suszczewski). The fourth expedition on board the same research vessel in 19898/9 (leader S. Radusa- Suszczewski), organized as part of an international research project ASIZ (Antarctic Sea-Ice Zone), worked in the northern part of Weddell Sea.

West Antarctica: geodynamic expeditions, 1979-91

Four marine geodynamic expeditions on board Polish ships were organized by the Institute of Geophysics, PAS (leader A. Guterch). A wide area along west coast of Antarctic Peninsula, between Drake Passage in the north and Adelaide Island in the south, including offshore islands (South Shetlands, Palmer and Biscoe archipelagoes, and Adelaide Island) was surveyed. Deep seismic sounding of the Earth's crust was carried out mainly along transects between Drake Passage and Antarctic Peninsula, crossing Bransfield Strait, several deep-seismictransects were also surveyed farther south, particularly along Gerlache Strait, and between Bismarck Strait and Marguerite Bay.

Geological and palaeontological studies (leader K. Birkenmajer) during these expeditions were carried out at many land sites along Antarctic Peninsula (Hope Bay, Paradise Harbour, Adelaide Island), and in the South Shetland Islands (King George Island, Deception Island). Joint Argentine-Polish geological and palaeontological studies on Seymour (Marambio) and Cockburn islands, NE Antarctic Peninsula, were carried out in 1985/6, 1987/8, 1991/2 and 1993/4. A joint project of Brazil and Poland (1984) included study of Tertiary glacial deposits on King George Island.

Figure 2. Location of the Polish scientific stations in Antarctica:
A. B. Dobrowolski Station (Bunger Hills) and H.
Arctowski Station (King George Island)

Figure 3. Polish station in Hornsund Fiord

Selected bibliography

Birkenmajer, K., 1962. Polish activities in Vestspitsbergen, 1956-1960. - The Polar Record (Cambridge), 11 (70): 35-39.

Birkenmajer, K. (ed.), 1968. Polish Spitsbergen Expeditions 1957-1960. Summary of Scientific Results. - Polish Natl. Cttee. on IIIrd I.G.Y./IGC, Warszawa: 466 pp.

Birkenmajer, K., 1978. Polish Antarctic activities, 1976-78. - The Polar Record (May, 1978): 173-175.

Birkenmajer, K., 1980. Polish Antarctic activities, 1978-79. The Polar Record, 20 (No 125): 156-158.

Birkenmajer, K., 1984. Earth sciences in Polish Polar research (Fifty years of Polish Polar Research, 1932-1982). - Acta Acad. Sci. Pol., 1 (1984): 71-87.

Birkenmajer, K., 1992. Polish geological research in Svalbard. - Earth Sci. Hist. (Troy, N.Y.), 11 (2): 81-87.

Birkenmajer, K., 1996. Polish geological research on King George Island, West Antarctica (1977-1996). - Pol. Polar Res., 19 (1-2): 125-141.

Birkenmajer, K., 1997. Forty years (1957-1997) of the Polish Scientific Station at Hornsund, Spitsbergen. - Polish Polar Stud. (24 Polar Sympos. Warszawa): 323-325.

Birkenmajer, K. (ed.), 1998. Centennial of participation of H. Arctowski and A. B. Dobrowolski in the Belgica Expedition to West Antarctica (1897-1899). - Pol. Polar Res., 19 (1-2): 161 pp.

Birkenmajer, K., 1998. Geological research of the Polish geodynamic expeditions to West Antarctica, 1984-1991: Antarctic Peninsula and adjacent islands. - Pol. Polar Res., 19 (1-2): 125-142.

Birkenmajer, K., 1998. New place names introduced in South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula by the Polish geodynamic expeditions, 1984-1991. - Pol. Polar Res., 19 (1-2): 143-160.

Cisak, J., 1992. List of place-names in Antarctica introduced by Poland in 1978-1990. - Pol. Polar Res., 13 (3-4): 273-302.

Chojnacki, J. C., 1998. Polish exploration and exploitation of Antarctic waters. - Pol. Polar Res., 19 (1-2): 81-102. Gazdzicki, A. (ed.), 1996. Palaeontological results of the Polish Antarctic Expeditions. Pt. II. - Palaeont. Polon., 55: 192 pp.

Guterch, A., Grad, M., Janik, T., Perchuc, E. & Pajchel, J., 1985. Seismic studies of the crustal structure in West Antarctica 1979-1980. Preliminary results. - Tectonophysics, 114: 411-429.

Guterch, A., Grad, M. & Sroda, P., 1998. Polish geodynamic expeditions - seismic structure of West Antarctica. - Pol. Polar Res., 19 (1-2): 113-123.

Klimaszewski, M., 1960. Geomorphological studies of the western part of Spitsbergen between Kongsfjord and Eidembukta. - Prace Geogr. Uniw. Jagiell. (Krakow), 23: 166 pp.

Figure 4. A.B. Dobrowolski Station (Bunger Hills)

Figure 5. H. Arctowski Station (King George Island)

Lugeon, J., 1933. L'année Polaire Polonaise _ l'Ile des Ours. - Przegl. Geogr. (Warszawa), 13: 46-49.

Rakusa-Suszczewski, S., 1978. First Polish Antarctic marine research expedition on r/v Profesor Siedlecki and m/t Tazar in 1975/76. - Pol. Arch. Hydrobiol., 19: 11-36.

Rakusa-Suszczewski, S. (ed.), 1993. The maritime Antarctic coastal ecosystem of Admiralty Bay. - Dept. Antarct. Biol., Pol. Acad. Sci. (Warsaw): 216 pp.

Rakusa-Suszczewski, S., Jazdzewski, K. & Ligowski, R., 1998. Antarctic oceanobiological expeditions organized by the Polish Academy of Sciences, 1975-1989. - Pol. Polar Res., 19 (1-2): 61-79.

Rozycki, S. Z., 1936. Expedition polonaise à Spitsbergen en 1934. - Przegl. Geograf. (Warszawa), 15: 119-137.

Rozycki, S. Z., 1959. Geology of the north-western part of Torell Land, Vestspitsbergen). - Stud. Geol. Polon., 2: 98 pp.

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A Project for Archiving and Managing Physical
Geodesy Data in Antarctica

A. Capra1 and S. Gandolfi2

1Engineering Faculty of Taranto - Polytechnic of Bari (ITALY)
2DISTART - University of Bologna (ITALY)


Within the activities of WGGGI (Working Group on Geodesy and Geographic Information) of SCAR (Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research), a "Physical Geodesy" project was planned for the period 1998-2000.

To now a geoid map of Antarctica has been produced by AUSLIG (Australia) showing the geoid-ellipsoid separation between GRS80 and OSU89A. Researchers from different countries have tried to compute a new local

Moreover density model computation needs for ice thickness determination by the comparison of surface topography and bedrock surface (trough Radio Echo Sounding - RES profiles). The ice thickness variation change locally and in time so it is necessary to take into account also the repetition of surface determination.

The opportunity to undertake this project is strongly connected to the contributions of researchers from different countries who worked on geodesy, geophysics and geology in Antarctica. However, data collection has to be clear and

and regional high-resolution geoid. The goal of the Physical Geodesy project is the collection and the analysis of data useful for the development of a new high resolution geoid for most of Antarctica. The first phase, the extensive collection of information and data related to geodesy, topography, bathymetry and gravity, was activated in collaboration with Institutions and Specialists Group (BEDMAP, ADGRAV, ADMAP and RAMP).

In order to produce a correct data archiving and management, useful for successive geoid computation, a preliminary plan of DBMS (Data Base Management System) is presented.

Figure 1. Scheme of Physical Geodesy Program

1 Introduction

A new high resolution geoid has to be obtained starting from a global model of geoid and corrected by the use of geodetic, gravimetric measurements and density model (Figure 1).

The scheme shown in figure 1 represents a classical approach for Gravimetric geoid computation (Barzaghi R., et al. 1993; Reigberg C. 1989; Rapp R.H. et al. 1994; Rapp R.H. 1989; Moritz H., Heiskanen W.A 1967). The uniqueness of the Antarctic continent presents some peculiarities from the point of view of measurement methodologies and instruments. Surface topography determination (DEM generation) has been performed mainly through satellite altimetry surveys due to the poor coverage of classical and other space geodesy techniques, overall for the inner part of Antarctica (generally satellite altimeter is used for sea surface determination in physical geodesy approach).

simple for scientists to contribute data. In order to organize different kindd of data, the realization of a Data Base Management System would be the best solution. However gravimetric and topographic measurements show different characteristics, so it is necessary to plan two different DBMS.

A preliminary DBMS was prepared using Microsoft Access for Windows 95, but other software will be studied that may enable the management of a greater quantity of data with stronger facilities.

2 DBMS for Geodetic data.

Several countries and research groups have performed a large number of topographic, gravimetric and tide gauge observations, therefore the first problem is how to collect and organize those data. The data, acquired with different


methodologies and generally in different reference systems, must be transformed in the same DATUM in order to perform an homogeneous datasheet.

In Antarctica ice-thickness is changing relatively quickly for many reasons (primarily ice movement and melting), therefore ice topography should be computed periodically.

Regarding this point a closed data exchange should be made with BEDMAP (Bedrock Map Antarctica Project) and RAMP (Radarsat Antarctic Mapping Program).

The DBMS could allow easier data archiving and correct data analysis to establish the level of desired accuracy for high precision topography determination.

The DBMS for geodetic measurements in Antarctica requires some special treatment compared with other kind of DBMS for Geodesy for the following reasons:

1 the atmospheric, climatic and morphologic conditions restrict the taking of classical measurements, especially in the inner part of the Antarctic Continent;

2 space geodesy will constitute the greater part of data;

3 despite of the above consideration, some classical observation will be considered in particular in region close to tide gauges.

Taking into account the above, only some typology of data are available: GPS data (Static - DGPS - Kinematic); DORIS; SAR; Satellite Altimetry; Tide Gauge. Some typology of data are generally not available: Spirit Levelling, SLR and VLBI.

In Fig.2 a scheme of the DBMS for geodesy is shown, showing that each measurement campaign datasheet must be coupled with a Form (Main Form + Sub Form) as Identity Card of the Survey

The Main Form (Fig. 3) illustrates some information on Company, Year, Reference, Name of Survey, Location or Region appear. For each kind of survey a particular "Sub Form" permits better understanding of modality, instrumentation, software, reference frame and every kind of information relative to the datasheet. This is only a user facility because the table of the general data contains all the fields of every kind of survey and some of these will be filled. When some data-sets are input, in itsown reference frame, it will be possible to generate a homogeneous data set using transformation parameters and to create an associated table form containing the "history" of each data-set.

The new table has to contain the initial form, the new reference frame and the transformation parameters associated. When this step is concluded, it is possible to produce regular grid, contour map, data analysis etc..

For a faster selection for local data integration and processing, the Antarctic continent should be divided in sectors to enable each survey to be classified with an associated label of the sector where the survey has been performed. This piece of information should be inserted manually or produced automatically starting from coordinates of input points.

In order to divide coastal regions of Antarctica into sectors, an INDEX map of the 24 planned 1:1.000.000 scale coastal change and glaciological USGS Antarctica Maps should be used. For the inner regions of the continent the limits in longitude of each map tracked to the geographic pole should be used.

Figure 2. Main Scheme of the DBMS for Geodesy

Figure 3. Example of the Main Form


Another criteria should be obtained furnishing the division adopted by BAS (British Antarctic Survey) to produce the ADD (Antarctic Digital Database) (Fig 4).

A third criteria should be the selection of sectors delimited in Longitude (10 degrees of amplitude) and in three strips: 60° - 70°, 70° - 80°, 80° - 90° of Latitude South.

Input data is available manually by user or automatically by file (eg. CSV, TXT, XLS, etc.). For Latitude and Longitude only a fixed format was adopted (eg. sexadecimal F13.10)
Figure 4. Example of sector sub-division of Antarctica. The map on the left is the sub-division utilized by USGS, on center the sub-division adopted by BAS and on the right another suggested sub-division.

3 DBMS for Gravimetry.

Some consideration and property of DBMS for Geodesy were applied also for DBMS for Gravimetry. Airborne gravimetry, ground gravimetry and satellite gravimetry are considered. At the moment only a first scheme has been drafted and work is still in progress.

4 Data collection

At present the most considerable gap in information relates to gravimetric observation. The Antarctic airborne gravimetry database is in progress (see ADGRAV Project). A collection of information on gravimetric absolute measurements has been made in GIANT Program (Geodetic Infrastructure of Antarctica) of SCAR WGGGI.

Geodetic and Tide Gauge observations are also collected by GIANT and for the most part are already available.

The information for the surface elevation are goals of data set projects like RAMP. While the ice bed elevation model is a goal BEDMAP Project. Within RAMP the Bird Polar Research Centre (BPRC) has created a DEM of the whole of Antarctica. Within BEDMAP, a new topographic model of the bed of the Antarctic ice sheet will be developed, allowing ice thickness determination.

Figure 5. Example of GPS data Sub Form
Figure 6. Example of data input panel


Information on the coastline and also of the inner part of continental topography is available on USGS Glaciology and Coastal-change Project and on Antarctic Digital Database (ADD) produced by BAS.

5 Conclusion

The goal of SCAR WGGGI Physical Geodesy Project is the high resolution geoid computation of Antarctica. The first step of data collection was the plan of a DBMS for different kind of data available for the Geoid computation: surface topography, bedrock surface, gravimetric observation and density models. A preliminary DBMS for geodesy and for gravimetry scheme was performed. The work is in progress and it is necessary to better define the DBMS and to start the verification of feasibility through a real data input.

The second phase should be the data collection which will be fundamental to data exchange with research programs like BEDMAP, ADGRAV, RAMP etc..

Moreover, strict interaction with IAG Commission on "Gravity Field and Geoid" is desirable to create an Antarctic gravity database, eventually through a working group creation.


Baiocchi V., Crespi M., Riguzzi F. (1998): Mean density map for the Italian region by GIS tecnique. IGS Bullettin N°8 Dec 1998, 93-104

Barzaghi R., Brovelli M.A., Sansò F.(1993): The gravimetric geoid and the sea surface topography in the central Mediterranean area - Mare Nostrum, Geomed Report 3, July.

Bell R. E., Small C., The development of a New Generation Gravity Map of Antarctica. Submitted to the Office of Polar Programs National Science Fundation.

Biagi L., Brovelli M.A., Salemi G. (1998): Geodetic data management with GIS and DBMS techniques. IGS Bullettin N°8 Dec 1998, 103-126.

Fotopoulos G., Kotsakis C., Sideris M. G. (1998): Developments and evaluation of an New Canadian Geoid Model, Second joint Meeting of the Int. Gravity Commission and Int. Geoid Commission, Trieste, Sept. 7-12, 1998

Knudsen T., Olesen A.O (1998): A GIS based strategy for quality control of gravimetry IGS Bullettin N°8 Dec 1998, 85-92

Moritz H., Heiskanen W.A, (1967): Physical Geodesy. W.H. Freeman and Company Editor. San Francisco.

Rapp R.H., (1989): Combination of Satellite, Altimetric, and Terrestrial Gravity Data, in Theory of Satellite

Geodesy, Lecture Note in Earth Sciences, No. 7, Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

Figure 7 - Example of Gravimetry Main Form
Figure 8 - Example of Gravimetric Data input by user.

Rapp R.H. e Nerem R.S., (1994): A Joint GSFC/DMA Project for improving the Model of the Earth's Gravitational Field, presented at the Joint Symposium of the International Gravity Commission, Graz, Austria, September.

Reigberg C., (1989): Gravity Field Recovery from Satellite Tracking Data, in Theory of Satellite Geodesy and Gravity Field Determination, Lecture Note in Earth Sciences No. 25, Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

Pagiatakis S.D., Armenakis C. (1998): Gravimetric geoid modelling with GIS. IGS Bullettin N°8 Dec 1998, 105-112

WGGGI Working Group on Geodesy and Geographic Information Web site address:

ADD - Antarctic Digital Database. Web site address:

RAMP - Radarsat Antarctic Mapping Program. Web site address:

BEDMAP - BEDrock MAPping. Web sit address:

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Antarctic Surveying and Mapping Activities
of China and Recent Progress

Chunming Chen

Chinese Antarctic Center of Surveying and Mappin, Wuhan Technical University of
Surveying and Mapping, 129 Luoyu Road, Wuhan 430079, China


The Antarctic surveying and mapping activities of China include geodesy, satellite positioning, topographic surveys, photogrammetry and mapping both in the Fildes Peninsula (West Antarctica) and in the Larsemann Hills (East Antarctica). In these regions, Chinese surveyors have set up a coordinate system and a level system, built in some maps of stations, provided the indemnification servings for Antarctic research activities of other academic disciplines. In addition, scientific research on geodesy kinetics and mapping methods have been developed.

In recent years progress in chinese Antarctic surveying and mapping has been achieved. The more important subjects, in brief, are:

a) Zhong Shan permanent GPS satellite tracking site;
b) GPS positioning and navigation of ice sheet research from Zhong Shan station to Dome A zone;
c) Surveying and mapping of Grove Mountains Area;
d) Antarctic internet-based GIS by GEOSTAR;
e) Monitoring crustal movement of the Fildes rift region; etc.

This paper discusses not only above problems but also some future research planning.

Key words: Antarctic, Surveying and mapping, Progress

I. Introduction

It has been 15 years since China entered into surveying and mapping activities in Antarctica. Two scientific research stations, Great Wall station and Zhong Shan Station, have been built by China during these 15 years. These two stations are important bases for Antarctic surveying and mapping activities of China. This paper is organised in two parts. The first deals with the indemnificatory conditions for CHINARE (Chinese National Antarctic Research Expedition) that include the establishment of both stations' coordinate system, plotting basic maps, developing satellite images, satellite navigation, and etc. The second studies the Antarctic scientific research activities correlated with surveying and mapping such as the monitoring of crustal deformation, the changes of sea level, the methods of mapping and the

GIS database. Both traditional and modern surveying techniques were utilized by Chinese surveyors, the former were inclusive of theodolite and leveling instrument and the latter included GPS, GIS and RS technology and their integration. Because of the specific nature of surveying, the fieldwork was usually carried out during the Antarctic summer season. Although there were many unfavorable factors such as severe weather, coldness and storms, precise and good quality surveying and mapping results were obtained. In some scientific research fields such as monitoring crustal deformation in large areas, monitoring sea level change, SCAR GPS Campaigns, etc., international cooperation is necessary and important because one country is unable to accomplish these kinds of actual observation activities. If the latest technology is utilized in international cooperation, first-class results can be achieved. Chinese surveyors hope to cooperate honestly with foreign scientists in Antarctic scientific research.

II. Crustal deformation monitoring in the Fildes Peninsula

In order to study crustal movement in Antarctica, China constructed a deformation monitoring network in Fildes Strait region, West Antarctica, which was observed using a DI-20 infrared geodimeter and GPS receivers. China has also participated in SCAR Epoch GPS Campaigns as well. The Fildes peninsula is located between South America Plate and Antarctic Plate, so fault movement was very active. When monitoring crustal movement of the region it is very important to use highly precise geodetic techniques. The shape and structure of this network is shown in Fig.1.

Since the Fildes deformation monitoring network was set up in 1984, we have obtained the observed data of three sessions of the network using a DI-20 infrared geodimeter. Furthermore, the observed data of two other sessions using the GPS positioning technique have been obtained. From data analysis of this network the following conclusions were available:

1) There is some small shear movement trend inthe Fildes fault area;

2) Using the GPS high precise positioning technique in Antarctica is a reliable and valid method to monitor crustal deformation.


Figure 1. Crustal deformation monitoring network in FildesPeninsula

III. SCAR Epoch GPS Campaigns

Research on Antarctic plate movement organized by SCAR WG-GGI, was an international project involving several countries. This project has the following objectives: Linking Antarctica with the International Terrestrial Reference Frame (ITRF); Measurement of the relative rates and directions of the Antarctic Plate from adjoining plates; Determination of relative motion of crustal blocks within the Antarctic Plate; Determination of the vertical motion of the Antarctic lithosphere due to changing ice and ocean loadings, etc.

Both China's Great Wall Station and Zhong Shan Station have participated in SCAR Epoch GPS Campaigns which have been carried out from 20 January to 10 February every year since1994. Both stations' monuments, with their permanent copper marker forced into their center, were directly set into bedrock, so the monuments are substantial enough to be stable to the millimeter level. The GPS data and corresponding documentation of each session have been sent to TU Dresden/Germany in time. Now Chinese surveyors are processing GPS data from part of these sessions.

IV. The geodetic network at Larsemann Hills and topographic map

During the first East Antarctica Expedition(1988/1989), the Chinese surveyors set up a coordinate system and a level system based atZhong Shan Station, and some points around the station were surveyed. Zhong Shan station lies in the northeast Larsemann Hills, which cover an area

of about 200 square kilometers. The Hills range from south latitude 69.3 deg. to 69.4 deg. and from east longitude 75.97 deg. to 76.44 deg., and half of this area is sea in which there are many islands. It took four years(1988-1992) to establish and survey geodetic network at Larsemann Hills. The network projects a form of the traverse net in which the angles were surveyed using a Wild T2 theodolite and the sides were measured using a DI-20 geodimeter. Its data processing was achieved using the principle of simultaneous adjustment; the statistics and analysis for the adjustment results indicated that the network is of sufficiently good quality to comply with the demands of 1:10,000 scale map work.

At the same time the aerial photograph of the Larsemann Hills was obtained using an ecumenical 120 camera from a small helicopter flying at 3,200 m altitude. Based upon these photograph the Larsemann Hills topographic map and image map of scale 1:10,000 were produced. In addition, the topographic map of the Fildes peninsula area was worked out after the geodetic network of the region had been set up. The topographic maps of Great Wall Station and Zhong Shan Station were surveyed to meet requirements of other research works.

V. Research on Antarctic Geoid using the Earth's Gravity Field

The study of change in the Earth's gravity field is an important part of research into global change. The Antarctic gravity field is related to the change in sea level, ice sheet, climate and global Geoid, and it also restricts these changes.


The Antarctic Gravity Field reflects the nature of matter distribution inside the Earth. In order to analyze the feature of Antarctic Geoid, some recent gravity field models such as OSU91(360 terms), JGMOSU(360 terms) and WDM94(360 terms) have been obtained. The geoid height and mean free-air gravity anomaly of Antarctica (from south latitude 60 deg. to 90 deg.) were computed on the base of WDM94 (see Fig.2 and Fig.3), and the same kind of values were obtained on the base of OSU91 and JGMOSU. To compare the results from WDM94 with the values from OSU91 and JGMOSU, the standard deviation of geoid height is 1.90 m and 2.09 m respectively, and the standard deviation of mean free-air gravity anomaly is 8.97 milligal and 9.32 milligal respectively.

VI. Digital mapping produced with satellite images of the Zhong Shan Station area

Antarctica is covered with ice and snow all year round. The Antarctic weather and environment make surveying very difficult on the ice sheet. Therefore mapping with satellite images is a suitable approach. To make an image map with TM data, some special methods have been introduced:

1) Direction filtering can efficiently remove streaked noise;

2) Image enhancement of different areas using the automatic recognition approach make the image clear, and the details of the ice and snow surface become visible with reasonable contrast.

The precise processing, using control points measured in the field, results in mapping accuracy which can fully satisfy the requirements of the 1:100,000 scale topographic map.

VII. Recent Progress

a) Establishment of a permanent GPS tracking site at Zhong Shan Station

After two years' preparation, China established a permanent GPS tracking site at Zhong Shan Station during 1998/1999 Antarctic summer season. The this site is to develop the research of Antarctic dynamic and related problem. The content of research is as follows:

1) Link of the permanent GPS tracking site to the ITRF
2) Accurate research on GPS satellite orbit in Antarctic area
3) Providing foundationn data for Antarctic plate movement
4) Research on upper ionosphere and meteorology
5) Research on crustal vertical motion.

This site, established according to international IGS standard, will be included into Antarctic permanent GPS tracking sites network.
A double-frequency GPS receiver Geotracer sponsored by Spectra Precision AB, was employed to perform continuous operation at this site. This kind of receiver has a superior performance. It can even work well in conditions of -30°C. It is controlled under the GPS-Base software, which ensure it work continuously all the day and store data automatically into computer.

Figure 2. Isoline map of Antarctic geoid height of WDM94 Model (unit: m, isoline interval:5m)


Figure 3. Isoline map of Antarctic mean free-air gravity anomaly of WDM94 Model (unit: mgal, isoline interval:15mgal)

Figure 4. The expedition routes of ITASE project

The receiver was set up at the point previously used in the SCAR Epoch GPS Campaigns at Zhong Shan Station. Since this site was just established, there is problem of not being able to transport data in time, which is hoped to be solved in the near future. Until that time we use compact disc storage and transport data.

b) Navigation and precse GPS positioning during inland ice sheet traverse
As part of the ITASE (International Trans-Antarctic Scientific Expedition) project (see Fig. 4), China has carried out three Antarctic inland ice sheet traverses since 1996.

Every year traverse team departs from Zhong Shan Station and jouney 300 kilometers, 500 kilometers and 1,100 kilometers towards Dome A(82°S, 75°E) respectively. As a member of the traverse team, the surveyor is in charge of explanation satellite images, navigation and precise GPS positioning.

The first traverse was carried out from Jan.18, 1997 to Feb. 1, 1997. The coordinates of the end point of this traverse is 71°54'S ,77°59'E, which is 300 kilometers from Zhong Shan Station. On Feb. 3,1998, China's second inland ice sheet traverse team departed from Zhong Shan Station, travelling 500 kilometers towards Dome A to the point (73°22'S, 77°00'E) and back to base on Feb.19, 1998. On the basis of former traverses, the third traverse team pushed forward successfully to Dome A area on Jan. 8th, 1999. The farthest point is (79°16'S,77°00'E ) , the elevation of which is 3,900 meters.

According to the route designed, surveyor navigated in the first tractor during advancing on ice sheet. Along the route, there was a mark rod every 2 kilometers for

navigation and ice mass balance observation. On every camp point, a double-frequency GPS receiver was employed to collect observation data simultaneously with fixed point at Zhong Shan Station. We could monitor ice mass balance and glacier drift with this differential GPS technique. The mark for high precise positioning was a glass fibre pole, which was 1 meter long, 3 cm in diameter. On top of the pole there was a clear mark for centering

c) Re-observing the Fildes deformation monitoring network in west Antarctica
During the 1998/1999 Antarctic summer season, China re-observed some points of the previous deformation monitoring network in Fildes strait in west Antarctica. The observation marker of these points was strengthened before reusing. Two sets of Turbo Rogue-8000 GPS receivers were employed and five baselines were observed. After the primary calculation, the accuracy index of the baseline vectors were obtained as shown in Table 1. Furthermore, Great Wall Station in west Antarctica participated in the SCAR Epoch 99 GPS Campaign and observed the elevation of the coastline terrace.

d) Developing the Antarctic internet database
The information industry has made progress with the development of network technology in recent years. At the same time, the development of theories of Digital Earth and GIS Visualization have furthered advances in mapping technology, including Antarctic surveying. In order to satisfy the need for rapid access to Antarctic data on the internet, we are developing the Internet GIS of Antarctica by GeoStar software.





dx dy dz dx dy dz dx dy dz dx dy dz dx dy dz
1.5 1.5 3.3 1.1 0.9 2.5 1.1 1.0 3.4 1.1 1.6 2.6 1.2 1.6 3.6

Table 1. The accuracy index of the baseline vectors from Fildes Strait

This system allows access to the coordinate systems of Great Wall Station, Zhong Shan Station etc. The vector data of maps and the corresponding attribute data can be viewed using popular browsers such as Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator. China's scientific research and Antarctic surveying data can be acquired published and shared on the internet using this system.

e) Surveying and mapping in Grove Mountains
During the 15th CHINARE , in addition to the traverse team extending to Dome A, an additional traverse team comprised of 4 Chinese expeditioners, including a surveyor, travelled to Grove Mountains. It is said that it was the first time man had been to Grove Mountains. The task of this traverse team was to undertake geological research work. The surveyor was in charge of navigation, GPS positioning, surveying and mapping. A Trimble 4000SST GPS receiver was employed to position. Some control points were observed and the map plotting of Grove Mountains will be completed in office in the future.

VIII. The future of Chinese Antarctic surveying and mapping

In the future, China will aim for international advanced levels, cooperate with other countries, carry out international and national Antarctic surveying aspects. The main aims of future development are as follows:

a) Carry out research into tide gauging at Zhong Shan Station and sea-level change in east Antarctica. This project will be put in practice with the help of Australia. At present, both Australia and China have come to a primary agreement about it;

b) Carry out absolute gravity observation and research at Zhong Shan Station. This project will be carried out along with the experts of surveying and mapping from Taiwan, China;

c) Set up an INMARSAT Communication Station at Zhong Shan Station as soon as possible to solve the problem of the data transmission of permanent GPS tracking sites. This project will be carried out cooperating with internal relations departments.

d) Supplement the newest data of Antarctic surveying and mapping data and input them into the database. We will consummate the database continuously in order to meet the need of other objects. This Project will be carried out cooperating with internal relational departments.

e) Continue to participate in SCAR Epoch GPS campaigns in future.

IX. References

Chunming Chen, Dongchen E, Weining Qiu (1997): Data processing and analysis of crustal deformation monitoring in the Fildes region, West Antarctic. Chinese Journal of Polar Science, Vol.8, No.2, 139-145, December 1997.

Chunming Chen, Dongchen E, Jizhang Sang (1995): Geodetic network at Larsemann Hills, Antarctica. Antarctic Research (Chinese edition), Vol.7, No.3, 95-100,September 1995.

Chunming Chen, Jiancheng Li (1996): Determination of Antarctic geoid by using gravity field of the Earth. The research of modern crustal movement and remote sensing mapping in Antarctic Region, Publishing House of WTUSM,China,60-67,September 1996.

Jiabing Sun, Xinzheng Gan (1994): The digital mapping produced with satellite image of the Zhong Shan Station area in Antarctica. Antarctic Research, Vol.5, No.1, 34-43,June 1994.

ITASE (1992). The International Trans-Antarctic Scientific Expedition, a planning document. University of New Hampshire, 25, USA.

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