ArcWatch: GIS News, Views, and Insights

February 2013

Mapping Where the Ice Flows

By Barbara Shields
Esri Writer

The National Ice Center (NIC) uses an ArcGIS extension to process satellite imagery of polar regions, analyze ice conditions, and create sea-ice and iceberg maps that ships use to navigate in often treacherous waters.

Satellite imagery is loaded into the Satellite Image Processing and Analysis System (SIPAS), where analysts study the sea ice and produce the maps. They generate about 80 standard GIS maps per week.

The US Navy, shipping enterprises, fisheries, petroleum companies, and ocean scientists use the maps. Read the article.

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NIC maps show features like polynyas -- areas of open water surrounded by pack ice. Photo: US Navy Submarine Force, US Pacific Fleet.

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Tip of the Month

Visually Analyze Data on the Ocean Basemap

This tip uses live web maps to demonstrate how to use the Ocean Basemap in combination with ArcGIS Online to visually analyze data. You will use pipeline and fishing restriction data for the Gulf of Mexico to study a safety issue.

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ArcWatch is published monthly by Esri and contains GIS news, practical advice, and updates about the company's software and events. To submit article ideas, e-mail editor Carla Wheeler at

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