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Standing Committee on Antarctic Geographic Information (SCAGI)

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, and the SCAR Map Catalogue. 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 three main SCAR-SCAGI products: Composite Gazetteer of Antarctica (CGA), Antarctic Digital Database (ADD), SCAR Map Catalogue (MapCat).

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). Both Cervellati and Ramorino have done outstanding work on the CGA, but are both now retired and wish to step back from this role. PNRA Italy have stated that they are able to continue to manage the CGA and have nominated Prof Carlo Baroni, University of Pisa as the successor. The SCAGI group would like to thank PNRA for the continuing support for the CGA.

The terms of reference for SC-AGI are:

  • To promote long-term preservation and accessibility of geographic information relating to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean in sustainable repositories;
  • To assist in establishing Antarctic geographic information management policies, priorities and best practices;
  • To encourage submission of geographic information and names information to the SCAR ADD and SCAR CGA;
  • To distribute maps of Antarctica to SCAR members;
  • To provide linkages to national mapping agencies and national names committees for Antarctica;
  • In partnership with SCADM, to work with SCAR SSGs, COMNAP, CEP, ATCMs and the IHO to continue to develop the SCAR ADD and SCAR CGA, Feature Catalogue and related symbology;
  • To create an Antarctic Spatial Data Infrastructure;
  • To maintain and/or further develop the Antarctic Topographic Database, Composite Gazetteer of Antarctica, Antarctic Map Catalogue and such other products as Delegates request.