Monday, December 2, 2013

Scott Expedition: Resource Map Update

For those of you following along with us on the "Scott Expedition," Ben and Tarka are now on the Beardmore Glacier after 38 days slogging through the Antarctic weather on the Ross Ice Sheet.

Until now the only topography they've encountered has been what the sheet of frozen water has afforded them but now they've got the land mass to deal with. Fortunately for us, we've got Google Earth and the many modern-day resources available which allow us to join their endeavor from our cozy armchairs.

Offroading Home has developed an extensive Google Earth Resource File which brings all the meaningful resources together in one place and it's available free: Google Earth Trail FileScott Expedition: Antarctica

Today we've updated it extensively and we should probably describe the new features:

NASA's MODIS satellite images is one of the overlays available merely by clicking the box next to the "MODIS Ice Overlay" link in the "places" legend on the left hand side of the screen. These extensive images are completely updated every three days to display the earth's resources – in this case, the earths ice coverage.

It does take some getting used to, and it's better for some places (like flat ice) than others (like mountainous areas) but they're so good you can follow as the explorers wind their way between the undulations in the ice caused by glacier flow.

One note though. As with most maps, sectors near the poles get "scrunched" so while a normal viewing screen at the beginning may contain only 4 or 8 sectors, a similar viewing screen at the poles could contain upwards of 50 or so. That translates into some increased downloading time for the images – just be patient, it's worth the wait for the added detail.

Webcams are maintained at both the McMurdo and South Pole stations (weather permitting) and the resource file contains pop-up links to both of them. The two cams as McMurdo seem to have been working for the duration of the trip. The two at the Pole Station, however, are dependent on satellite passes so come and go at regular schedules.

The Historic Expeditions of Scott, Amundsen and Shackelton have been added to the trails list. Click their boxes and you can see how this current expedition's route compares with what the earlier explorers did.

Grid Lines were added when the two isolated explorers seemed to need some intermediate goals in order to not let the daunting task overwhelm them. Commenters on their blog could then congratulate them each time they crossed one of the decimal degrees in latitude – and there have been six of them (coming up on the seventh).

View placemarks (tiny purple cameras) are new to this update and enable you to change your Google Earth views quickly in order to take advantage of the 3D topography.

We hope you are enjoying following along this "reality show" with us. It's not often we get a chance to do this without needing to trailer to a trailhead.

Learn A Little More

Also recommended reading is the book: South Pole: 900 Miles on Foot by Gareth Wood and Eric Jamieson. It recounts a similar journey to follow Scott's epic exploration by Roger Mear, Robert Swan and Canadian Gareth Wood.

Are You Going To Get The Books?

If you are planning on purchasing either of these books, I'd like to entreat you to do it via this link to Amazon: South Pole: 900 Miles on Foot or The Worst Journey In The World or In Shackleton's Footsteps: A Return to the Heart of the Antarctic a book by Henry Worsley. That way you'll still pay the same price but a portion of it will go toward keeping Offroading Home "on the air." Thanks!


Viewer said...

Techno-not really, so when I click on the link I am told that I need an app to read the file. Can you recommend which app? Thx.

D J said...

All the free maps available for download on this site are Google Earth map files. It will do you no good to "click on a link" to download the resource map without already having Google Earth loaded on your computer.

Rich Townsend said...

Hi DJ --

The doc.kml file in the resource pack has an error in its markup; the tag on line 5356 needs to be deleted.



Richard said...

Downloaded your ScottExpedition-Antarctica.kmz file but when I try to open it in Google Earth I get "failed: Parse error at line 5356, column 3: mismatched tag." Any idea what the problem would be? Google Earth seems to be working fine otherwise.

D J said...

Thanks rich... After much searching I found a problem which was causing the error - problem was that it wasn't anywhere close to where the error message claimed; AND, it was in a section of code that had been included 4 weeks ago and had been working all that time - why it quit now? Who knows? Anyway, I've been able to download and open the new edition now several times and the problem seems to be fixed. Please let me know if you still have any problems.

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