Antarctic Digital Database

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Comparison of ADD data (bottom) with MOA data (top)

The Antarctic Digital Database [1] is collection of geographic data of Antarctica maintained by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR).


The ADD is not generally free to use but the SCAR has allowed use of this data in Openstreetmap in March 2013 via email sent to User:Imagico:

following your mail about Antarctic data from the ADD for OpenStreetMap, I have been in contact with Dr Mike Sparrow, Executive Director of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR). SCAR, not British Antarctic Survey, hold the copyright on the ADD. He has confirmed that he supports OpenStreetMap using the ADD as the primary source for Antarctica. (from email sent by Dr. Adrian Fox to Christoph Hormann on March 06, 2013)

Credit on the contributors page is required and has been added there.

Data reliability

The SCAR emphasizes that accuracy and reliability of the data is possibly much lower than for comparable data sources elsewhere on earth. The full disclaimer detailing these warnings can be found on the ADD terms page.

The data

The data is assembled from various sources of different age and resolution, ice coastlines are mostly relatively new (~2010). The rock outcrops data is older than the coastlines in many parts and therefore does not always match. There are some errors in the coastline data (wrong classification land/ice shelf) that can be detected (but not easily fixed) during conversion.

Details on the available data and attribute translations for the import are described on a separate page Antarctic Digital Database/Data.

The Import

Overall plan

Tiling for the ADD import

Based on the Import guidelines the following things have been done/are planned in preparation of the import:

  1. Identification of the data to be imported - done, see Antarctic Digital Database/Data
  2. Obtaining permissions - done, see above and Import/Catalogue
  3. Contributor credits - done, see Contributors#ADD_.28Antarctic_Digital_Database.29
  4. Data conversion - done, see below for sample data for review
  5. verification of the data conversion - done
  6. discussion of the import with the community - done
  7. conversion of all the data - done
  8. setting up a wiki page for managing the import of the data (who is working on which tiles) - done
  9. importing the data - done
  10. verification and post import cleanup - done

Data conversion

The ADD data is quite detailed so even for only the coastlines it would need to be imported in smaller parts. Since in most parts of the continent the data is concentrated near the coastline it makes most sense to split it into longitudinal segments for import. At the Antarctic peninsula where data is more detailed then elsewhere data is further split by latitude. See the map on the right for details on the tiling scheme.

A few of these tiles have been converted by User:Imagico using Ogr2osm. Some formal inconsistencies (mostly due to coordinate system distortion) have already been fixed manually in these files. Note the ADD data contains some errors like wrong classification of ice shelf areas as land - some of these have been fixed during manual post processing but there might still be some in the files.

All ways in the files have been simplified in JOSM using a tolerance value of 1 to avoid meaningless detail, especially on the grounding lines.

Import Instructions

If you want to participate in the import choose a tile, download the data for it, enter your name in the User column for this tile, change the status to In work and work on this tile. Once you completed the import make sure to document this in the table as well (change status to Finished and link to the changesets you created).

The following hints might be useful for working on this import:

  • Make sure you use a distinct user account for the import as described in Import/Guidelines.
  • The current main data source in OSM for Antarctica is MOA (see Antarctica/Import_2013) which can be fully replaced by the new data. There are however parts with more detailed data (especially in tiles 12a, 13a14 and 35) which need to be carefully merged. You will usually want to fetch the existing data for the tile area and surrounding using Xapi or Overpass API, load this and the import data in separate layers in JOSM and then merge the data. Make sure to coordinate work with the users processing the adjacent tiles.
  • Make sure you are familiar with the Antarctica specific tagging - see Antarctica/Tagging. The Tags used in the import data are documented on Antarctic Digital Database/Data.
  • Some of the files are quite large, especially on the Antarctic peninsula they stretch JOSMs capabilities. Make sure you have enough memory available to JOSM and be prepared for slow operations. The 'Unconnected ways' check of the JOSM validator seems to scale particularly badly with large amounts of data so you will probably want to disable it for this.
  • All tiles except 12d contain coastlines which need to be merged with the existing data right during the import to avoid invalid coastlines.
  • The large polygons extending across multiple tiles (that's the ice shelves and a few large islands) can be left split during the import (as long as each part stays formally valid on its own of course) and then be merged once all tiles containing part of the polygon are uploaded. Make sure to document this in the table below.
  • There are a few ways with more than 2000 nodes in the data which need to be split manually before import. You can use the JOSM filter to find these.

Changeset rules

You should limit each changeset to a single tile. They should all get the following tags:

as well as an individual comment=* containing the tile number and information on merging with existing data etc.

The Data

Here you can find links to the data for import and documentation of the progress. Everyone is invited to participate in the import effort.


The POIs (research stations, camps, airfields and historic sites) have been converted separately for the whole continent:

Tile OSM File User Status Changesets Notes
POIs whole continent add_pois.osm.bz2 User:imagico Finished 17344919


The following table contains the links to the converted ADD data. The Xapi links given can be used to get the existing OSM data to merge with. They include a 0.5 degree margin on all sides.

Tile OSM File Xapi User Status Changesets Notes
01 add_proc_01-mod.osm.bz2 01 User:imagico Finished 16191276, 16191517 Ice shelf already merged to maintain a few MOA features across the tile boundary
02 add_proc_02-mod.osm.bz2 02 User:imagico Finished 16192992
03 add_proc_03-mod.osm.bz2 03 User:imagico Finished 16194005, 16194663, 16195141
04 add_proc_04-mod.osm.bz2 04 User:imagico Finished 16198677, 16199001, 16199330 Completed western part of Ross ice shelf
05 add_proc_05-mod.osm.bz2 05 User:imagico Finished 16200041
06 add_proc_06-mod.osm.bz2 06 User:imagico Finished 16253110
07 add_proc_07-mod.osm.bz2 07 User:imagico Finished 16253940
08 add_proc_08-mod.osm.bz2 08 User:imagico Finished 16255123
09 add_proc_09-mod.osm.bz2 09 User:imagico Finished 16257044
10 add_proc_10-mod.osm.bz2 10 User:imagico Finished 16342960, 16343434
11 add_proc_11-mod.osm.bz2 11 User:imagico Finished 16572639, 16572945, 16573316
12a add_proc_12a-mod.osm.bz2 12a User:imagico Finished 16458579, 16459708, 16460017, 16460199, 16460459, 16460763, 16461336, 16461625, 16461894, 16462329, 16462547, 16462756, 16463153, 16463325 large tile >50MB
12b add_proc_12b-mod.osm.bz2 12b User:imagico Finished 16563329, 16563551, 16563773, 16564045, 16564307, 16564604, 16564893, 16565206, 16565440, 16565665, 16565897, 16566144, 16566383, 16566602, 16566869, 16567137, 16568757, 16568930 large tile >50MB
12c add_proc_12c-mod.osm.bz2 12c User:imagico Finished 16575954, 16576211, 16576449, 16576650, 16576877, 16577139, 16577401, 16577652, 16577913, 16578779, 16579843 large tile >50MB
12d add_proc_12d-mod.osm.bz2 12d User:imagico Finished 16647808
13a add_proc_13a-mod.osm.bz2 13a User:imagico Finished 16351426, 16351828, 16352404, 16352859, 16353471, 16354203 Starting Antarctic peninsula from top
13b add_proc_13b-mod.osm.bz2 13b User:imagico Finished 16648512 Completing Antarctic peninsula
14 add_proc_14-mod.osm.bz2 14 User:imagico Finished 16670855 Skipping South Orkney Islands since position matches neither existing data nor LIMA
15 add_proc_15-mod.osm.bz2 15 User:imagico Finished 16674760
16 add_proc_16-mod.osm.bz2 16 User:imagico Finished 16675889 Completing Filchner-Ronne ice shelf
17 add_proc_17-mod.osm.bz2 17 User:imagico Finished 16821422
18 add_proc_18-mod.osm.bz2 18 User:imagico Finished 16822213
19 add_proc_19-mod.osm.bz2 19 User:imagico Finished 16823131, 16823669
20 add_proc_20-mod.osm.bz2 20 User:imagico Finished 16824308
21 add_proc_21-mod.osm.bz2 21 User:imagico Finished 16825448, 16825874
22 add_proc_22-mod.osm.bz2 22 User:imagico Finished 16827532
23 add_proc_23-mod.osm.bz2 23 User:dieterdreist Finished 16194937
24 add_proc_24-mod.osm.bz2 24 User:imagico Finished 17289896
25 add_proc_25-mod.osm.bz2 25 User:imagico Finished 17290585, 17290786, 17290966
26 add_proc_26-mod.osm.bz2 26 User:imagico Finished 17291651, 17291985, 17292325
27 add_proc_27-mod.osm.bz2 27 User:imagico Finished 17294563
28 add_proc_28-mod.osm.bz2 28 User:imagico Finished 17294806
29 add_proc_29-mod.osm.bz2 29 User:imagico Finished 17295282
30 add_proc_30-mod.osm.bz2 30 User:imagico Finished 17295817
31 add_proc_31-mod.osm.bz2 31 User:imagico Finished 17296344
32 add_proc_32-mod.osm.bz2 32 User:imagico Finished 17305073
33 add_proc_33-mod.osm.bz2 33 User:imagico Finished 17305429
34 add_proc_34-mod.osm.bz2 34 User:imagico Finished 17306696, 17306931, 17307148, 17307430
35 add_proc_35-mod.osm.bz2 35 User:imagico Finished 17317989, 17318928, 17319410, 17319913, 17320381, 17320777, 17321207, 17321538, 17322649, 17323077, 17323498, 17323848, 17324369, 17324647, 17324939, 17326882 large tile >50MB
36 add_proc_36-mod.osm.bz2 36 User:imagico Finished 17328901