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30 November 2005

New Map of Antarctica Released

NSIDC has just released a new, high-resolution image mosaic of the Antarctic continent and surrounding islands. The map, called the MODIS Mosaic of Antarctica (MOA), is the best representation to date of the Antarctic continent surface.

"This map will help scientists locate interesting areas of study and plan field research projects in Antarctica," said Ted Scambos, one of the creators of MOA at NSIDC. "The surface detail on this map is unprecedented."

NSIDC manually cleared clouds, sensor noise, and striping from 260 images. The resulting mosaic has very few artifacts. All land and ice areas (and islands greater than a few hundred meters across) south of 60 degrees south are included in the mosaic.

The image map is a composite of 260 Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) band-1 images (red visible light), gridded at 125 meter resolution. A second image was created from a combination of band 1-and band-2 (near infrared light) that is sensitive to the grain size of the surface snow and blue ice areas. The image data were acquired between 20 November 2003 and 29 February 2004.

MOA is available through FTP distribution upon request, and geolocated subscenes are available from an interactive Web site (

Terry Haran and Jennifer Bohlander compiled and processed the data set using image processing methods developed by Ted Scambos and Terry Haran of NSIDC and Mark Fahnestock of the University of New Hampshire (UNH). UNH also plans to have the mosaic available on a mirror site,

For images and additional details about MOA, please visit