Data Set ID:

GLIMS Glacier Database, Version 1

Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) is an international initiative with the goal of repeatedly surveying the world's estimated 200,000 glaciers. GLIMS uses data collected by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument aboard the Terra satellite and the LANDSAT series of satellites, along with historical observations.

The GLIMS initiative has created a unique glacier inventory, storing information about the extent and rates of change of all the world's mountain glaciers and ice caps. The GLIMS Glacier Database was built up from data contributions from many glaciological institutions, which are managed by Regional Coordinators, who coordinate the production of glacier mapping results for their particular region. The GLIMS Glacier Database provides students, educators, scientists, and the public with reliable glacier data from these analyses. New glacier data are continually being added to the database.

The GLIMS Glacier Viewer was developed to provide the public with easy access to the GLIMS Glacier Database. This Web application allows users to view and query several thematic layers, including glacier outlines, Regional Coordinator institution locations, the World Glacier Inventory, and more. GLIMS data can be downloaded into a number of GIS-compatible formats, including ESRI Shapefiles, MapInfo tables, Geographic Mark-up Language (GML), and Keyhole Mark-up Language (KML) suitable for viewing in Google Earth.

Note: The citation listed under the "Citing These Data" tab is a general citation for the entire GLIMS data collection. If you download data, please use the appropriate citation(s) listed in the file called 'CITATIONS_nnnn.txt', Where: nnnn = a number for the specific GLIMS data you used.

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Geographic Coverage

Data Set Tabs

Spatial Coverage:
  • N: 90, S: -90, E: 180, W: -180

Spatial Resolution:
Not Specified
Temporal Coverage
  • 1850-01-01
(updated 2012)
Temporal Resolution:
Not specified
  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Glaciers > Glacier Extent
Sensor(s): ASTER, ETM+
Data Format(s):
  • GML
  • ASCII Text (.txt)
  • Keyhole Markup Language (.kml)
  • WFS
  • WMS
  • ESRI Shapefile
Data Contributor(s): GLIMS, and National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Data Citation

As a condition of using this data, you must cite the use of this data set using the following citation. For more information, see our Use and Copyright Web page.

GLIMS, and National Snow and Ice Data Center. 2005, updated 2012. GLIMS Glacier Database, Version 1. [indicate subset used]. Boulder, Colorado USA. NSIDC: National Snow and Ice Data Center. [Date Accessed].

Questions? Please contact:

NSIDC User Services
Phone: 1 303 492-6199
Fax: 1 303 492-2468
Contact Address:
National Snow and Ice Data Center
University of Colorado
City: Boulder
Province or State: CO
Postal Code: 80309-0449
Country: USA