International Polar Year, now in glorious KML

This past week I’ve been putting the finishing touches on the new KML layers for the 4th International Polar Year (2007-2008), and they have now gone live over on Download the main layer here; it comes in two parts:

  • A tour of IPY across both polar regions, written by University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Matt Nolan, and
  • A network link to a file containing the most recent 50 or so georeferenced stories posted to by scientists in the field. These stories are identical to the ones published to the site, and you can see exactly where they were written.

It looks like this:



This main layer is meant to be the most accessible part of IPY’s content for Google Earth, but there is a lot more available for those who are polar enthusiasts, professionally involved in IPY or who like to look at raw data:-) From the main layer, you can click through to three additional resources:

  • A tour of IPY projects: This KML file is set up as a guided tour of all 240 endorsed projects taking place during this IPY. It was created by pulling information directly out of the IPY project database. (By Matt Nolan)
  • Useful polar layers: A web page collecting links to relevant polar-themed KML files I’ve found on the web. (If you know of more, let me know and I will add them.)
  • Learn more about an IPY project: This is a KML file collecting detailed information from scientists about their individual IPY-endorsed projects, and it even includes raw data. To kick things off, Matt Nolan has created an extensive layer on the Glaciodyn glaciology project, which includes his work on Alaska’s McCall Glacier.


Over the past few months there has been a burgeoning interest among polar scientists in getting their IPY project published to virtual globes like Google Earth, and we’ll be adding their research results and outreach efforts to these layers as they become ready. In the meantime, there already is plenty to explore:-)

4 thoughts on “International Polar Year, now in glorious KML”

  1. Hi Stefan, this new IPY layer is excellent. I just downloaded it and have been skimming through. I can’t wait to read all the entries. Congratulations!

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