Atlas of the Cryosphere Web Coverage Service (WCS) now available

Release Date: February 16, 2007

Raster data sources (i.e. rectangular grids of data values) for the Atlas of the Cryosphere ( are now accessible remotely via the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Web Coverage Service (WCS), including monthly climatologies of sea ice extent and concentration, snow cover extent, and snow water equivalent, in addition to digital elevation models (DEMs) for Greenland and Antarctica, and other sources. While the OGC Web Map Service (WMS) provides map images of these and other Atlas layers, WCS provides the actual source data, in GeoTIFF format. WCS requests can include various parameters for customizing output, including spatial subsetting to your region of interest. Select Atlas vector data sources (i.e. points, lines, and polygons) are also remotely accessible via the OGC Web Feature Service (WFS), as previously announced. For more details about accessing Atlas of the Cryosphere OGC services, click here. These international specifications provide a framework for sharing maps and geospatial data over the internet.

Digital elevation models (DEMs) for the Greenland (Bamber et al. 2001) and Antarctic (Liu et al. 2001) ice sheets, downloadable in GeoTIFF format through WCS. These data can be accessed via the following example links for Greenland (5-km resolution; 826 KB file size) and Antarctica (1-km resolution; 69 MB file size). You can also view background information about these data at the following links for Greenland and Antarctica.

We welcome your feedback on this project. If you have questions, comments or suggestions, please contact NSIDC User Services at +1.303.492.6199,, or via our online contact form. The development of this map server application was supported by NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS) Program under contract NAS5-03099 and was developed using MapServer, an Open Source development environment for building spatially-enabled internet applications. The Atlas of the Cryosphere was developed by John Maurer. Future updates will continue to be announced on this RSS feed.