Information for GLIMS data providers

If you have data to contribute to GLIMS (glacier outlines, center lines, snow lines, and the like), please let us know at This will notify people in both the GLIMS and RGI (Randolph Glacier Inventory) communities. We are increasingly flexible on the formats of data that we can accept.

If you are able, please format your data according to the specifications described below:

Formatting a Typical Data Submission

When someone submits glacier outlines to GLIMS, we need:

  1. Glacier outlines (as closed polygons) in shapefile format. Geographic coordinate system (in lon/lat) and WGS84 datum is preferred. Rock outcrops internal to the glacier (nunataks) should be represented as “holes” in the polygons.
    • attributes SHOULD include:
      • “Local” uncertainty in x and y (precision of vertex digitization)
      • “Global” uncertainty in x and y (geolocation accuracy of the polygons)
    • attributes CAN include:
  2. Additional feature types: optional features can be mapped and submitted. In these cases, a analyst-supplied glacier ID should be used to tie these features together with the glacier outlines. In the following, “line type” refers to the attribute in the shapefile labelled “line_type”.
    • Debris cover (polygons: line type “debris_cov”)
    • Supraglacial lakes and proglacial lakes (polygons: line type “supra_lake” or “pro_lake”)
    • Center lines of glaciers (poly-lines: line type “centerline”)
    • Transient snow lines (poly-lines: line type “snow_line”)
  3. Image ID/ scene (granule (image)) IDs from the image provider; acquisition dates, instrument and platform name
  4. Topographic map information if used instead of imagery: map projection; publication date; identification number if known; publisher
  5. Information on analysts and processing methods: names of the analysts; approximate date of the analysis; as much detail as possible on method(s) used; percent manual editing; description of any collaboration with other GLIMS institutions (Regional Centers).

What is NOT needed

  • GLIMS glacier IDs (we assign these at ingest time)
  • Glacier areas (we calculate these at ingest time)

Extra Credit

Other glacier data we like to receive includes:

  • glacier hypsometry (area distribution with elevation). Please use the RGI hypsometry format.
  • glacier velocity vectors

More Information

For guidance on how to derive glacier outlines from imagery, see the GLIMS Analysis tutorial.​

Version 0.5 | Last updated by Bruce Raup 2018-08-07