International Polar Year, or IPY (2007-2009) is by far the most exciting international scientific and educational opportunity of this century. For the next two years, all eyes will be focused on the physical, social and human dimensions of our planet's polar regions. Watch this blog for news related to Canadian outreach and education efforts related to IPY. Of particular interest to educators! Note: This blog is created independently of any official IPY organization

Thursday, August 9, 2007

IPY Spacial Websites...potpourri

People are rushing to get tools out that will aid the Research and Education and Outreach activities of IPY. People are probably seeing notices of these so I spent a few minutes preparing this review which outlines the functionality I have discovered in each system. I apologize to the developers and designers for any miss representation which is probably a product of my lack of curiosity to interpret the functionality of their products. GRAPHICAL MAP or SPATIAL Products: There are currently 2 basic program formats:

Google Earth Based

The site ARMAP ( Arctic Research Mapping Application) is a Google Earth based package out of the US. This site allows you to select projects by discipline however like the IPO site described next it does not provide an accurate representation of the geographic range that any one project is occurring on. You can also select an identifier of sites that have a funding from several USA funding organizations, by biome, by various environmental and physiographic landscape characteristics, by IPY or Arctic Observation Network, and by various man made features such as communities, research stations, roads etc.

- The International IPY Program Office (IPO) also has a Google Earth package directed more towards outreach and education at: Clicking on any of the markers on the spatial image of the globe will open a descriptor of a fully endorsed IPY Program or activity that at least will be partially occurring at that location. Clicking on More information will take you to the Program Proposal. The difficulty is that since most of this programs support activities in many places the marker may not be located in a local that you are particularly interested in. For instance the large wild Caribou/ Reindeer monitoring program known as CARMA led in Canada by Don Russell of Whitehorse but focusing on herds in the entire circumpolar north is accessed by a marker somewhere near Baker Lake in the NWT. If you want to know about work in Russia, Finland, Alaska or the Yukon you most likely would not find the reference using this tool.

CEON Interactive Map Server Based

- Canadians IPY Secretariat’s CANIPY Map Server . This program was originally developed to help inform the research community and assist them build strategic alliances with fellow researchers. It has matured dramatically since the last time I played in it. This program can be zeroed down to the individual program and if I use CARMA as an example again- you can find it under IPY Initiatives- Arctic - LAND- RUSSELL CARMA which is how the IPY Planning Chart breaks it out ( the “bee hive chart”). The locations of work are mapped by a cross hatch. Like several other programs CANIPY gives locations of research stations, research networks, boundaries, communities etc. For people trying appreciate the geographic scope of a program this seems to be the program of choice right now. However it doesn’t link yet back to the program proposal or any specific web site of any particular program. While I know the Secretariat is offering this program to all IPY Programs to date it does not seem to represent all international projects. In truth I suspect we will never get every thing clearly packaged since IPY continues to grow and many of the projects continue to be very dynamic.

CEON is the base on which CANIPY runs. It provides access to longer term study sites and programs such as the International Tundra Experiment.

Obviously there is already considerable cross fertilization between these various tools as programmers work to make them both more user friendly and to meet the growing needs of various users. My understanding is that some of the same individuals are involved in the design of various products.

Other Sites

In addition there are a large number of other Spatial Web Sites with Spatial Data available. The Yukon Government offers two public sites. The first is at Geomatics Yukon- This site will take you to specific Yukon datasets and links to others such as NRCan’s NTS and others. Some of these carry a cost. The second that many prefer ( partially because it is totally interactive and also because it is totally at no cost) is at Yukon Geology This “map base” is from the Bedrock Geology base, one of several including Stream Geochemistry and the Placer atlas, available by following the pathways from The Bedrock Geology map can obviously be zoomed into and has imagery , geology, contour data, major land tenure etc.


The Canadian Secretariat is cooperating with the IPO in developing a Digital Library. This will be a web site which will allow all research projects, national programs and others to store digital materials including reports, maps, power point like presentations, movies, photos, web addresses, posters etc. in a catalogued system that will allow all users to access them. I have had preliminary access to this system that is now fully designed and undergoing beta testing and loading by a limited number of users. Personally I am very impressed. Karen Edwards at he Secretariat tells me this should be available later this month for general access. When it is made available it is critical that IPY participants use it to load their materials that are to be shared with a wider audience.

I know people are within their limited resources trying to link many of these tools much like the IPO’s Google Earth program and their “Planning Chart” links to their other data bases such as program proposals.

Ian R. Church

Chair, Canadian IPY National Committee,

Senior Science Advisor,

From: [] On Behalf Of Info Sent: Thursday, August 02, 2007 9:58 AM To: Subject: FW: Updated Website ? the Arctic Research Mapping Application (ARMAP)

The Arctic Research Mapping Application (ARMAP) is now available for use in Google Earth. The website is available at: The Arctic Research Mapping Application (ARMAP) is a suite of online, interactive maps and services that support Arctic science. In addition to "ARMAP 2D" (an Internet Map Server), ARMAP is now available for use in Google Earth. Users can navigate to areas of interest and explore or query information about field-based scientific research in the Arctic. Research sites are shown as points with links to details about project investigator, discipline, funding program, year, related websites, and other elements. ARMAP includes satellite imagery, other base maps, and map layers for places, roads, and natural features. Users can print or export maps for presentations, export selected data, select from a “map gallery” of predefined images, or link directly to a variety of database web services. With special emphasis on the International Polar Year (IPY), ARMAP strives to benefit scientists, science logistics experts, educators and the general public. ARMAP is funded by the National Science Foundation's Office of Polar Programs, and is a collaborative development effort among the Systems Ecology Laboratory at the University of Texas at El Paso, Nuna Technologies, the INSTAAR QGIS Laboratory, and VECO Polar Resources. Comments are appreciated at

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