Documentation for Ice Shelf Rift Time-Lapse Photography, Antarctica, Version 1

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Detailed Data Description


Digital images are in JPEG format.

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File Naming Convention

Files are named according to the following convention:

Data are organized in folders named for specific camera orientation.
File names indicate date and time of day.


File Naming Convention
Variable Description
east green camera orientation to east
west red camera orientation to west
south camera orientation to south
battery camera orientation to battery box
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Approximately 163 Megabytes (MB)

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Spatial Coverage

Southernmost Latitude: 78 South 
Northernmost Latitude: 78 South 
Westernmost Longitude: 178 West 
Easternmost Longitude: 178 West

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Temporal Coverage

11 November 2004 to 19 March 2005

Temporal Resolution

4 times per day

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Parameter or Variable

Parameters include: Antarctica, glaciers and ice sheets

Sample Data Record

Each photograph in the collection is a 640 by 480 pixel image

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Software and Tools

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Data Acquisition and Processing

Data Acquisition Methods

The controller board switched on both cameras and initiated a program running on the Linux operating system of the NetCam MP to perform image acquisition, storage and ftp transmission to via an Iridium satellite telephone modem made by NAL. The images used in this study were also stored locally, on a 1 gigabyte flash memory card associated with the Sony camera. Power was supplied by three 100 amp hour 12 V batteries maintained by two 20 W solar panels and a Flexcharge PV7D charge controller.

The camera was operated continuously for 136 days (from 03 November, 2004, until 19 March, 2005) to collect images from 3 standard views: (a) east, along the rift toward its wide, open end, (b) south, directly across the rift, and (c) west, along the rift toward the closed, propagating tip. Pictures of these three views were obtained 4 times a day to allow different sun angles to illuminate the features of the rift walls and snowscape covering the rift floor. The camera system shut down in late March, 2005, because photovoltaic power generation could not maintain the 12 v battery system. The system failed to wake up the following austral spring, and was removed from the field (thus recovering data stored on the Sony flash card) in November, 2005.

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Sensor or Instrument Description

The system contained two cameras, a Sony SNC RZ30 (giving a 640 by 480 pixel image using a 1/3-inch CCD) and a StarDot NetCam MP (also giving a 640 by 480 pixel image). The system was controlled by a Rabbit microprocessor located on a custom made circuit board.

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References and Related Publications

Contacts and Acknowledgments

Douglas MacAyeal
Department of Geophysical Sciences
University of Chicago
5734 S. Ellis Ave. 
HGS 413
Chicago, Illinois 60637 USA

Kelly Brunt 
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
University of California San Diego 
La Jolla, California 92093 USA


This research was supported by National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of Polar Programs (OPP) grant 0229546 awarded to D. MacAyeal.

Document Information

Document Creation Date

November 2008