Polardex is a new online platform for polar infrastructure and logistics discovery and planning developed by the EPB and partners (launched in April 2022).
Polardex includes detailed information about polar research infrastructure in the Arctic and Antarctic, including field facilities (stations, camps, laboratories, weather stations, shelters), vessels and aircraft. Polardex compiles information on their facilities and capabilities for science, as well as links to further details relating to access, ongoing science and data.
In addition to infrastructures, Polardex give details of logistical plans for research in the polar regions, allowing scientists and managers to identify potential collaborations and opportunities for deploying equipment or collecting samples. With Polardex, duplication of logistics can be avoided, saving time, resources and environmental impacts. The Planned Routes section, a development of SOOS’ DueSouth database now fully integrated with Polardex, gives details of scientific research cruises as well as tourist routes in the Southern Ocean that could offer ships of opportunity to scientists. Polardex’s functionalities all for planned routes or field campaigns by sea, land and air in both the Arctic and Antarctic.
Additional features of Polardex include the ability to subscribe to updates on logistical plans, and to explore infrastructures in a map-based viewer with multiple data and information layers. In the coming months we will continue to develop Polardex with new infrastructure and logistics information from partners around the world.
Polardex is the result of the integration of the European Polar Infrastructure Database, developed by the EPB and EU-PolarNet, and SOOS’ DueSouth database, which the EPB has hosted since 2021.
Discover Polardex for yourself here: www.polardex.org
You can watch a short webinar introducing Polardex here.
Statement from SOOS on the launch of Polardex
DueSouth (the Database of Upcoming Expeditions to the SOUTHern ocean) was initially developed for the Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS) by James Cusick at the Australian Antarctic Data Centre and first launched in May, 2017. In 2021 hosting was transferred to the European Polar Board (EPB), where it will now be integrated with other polar infrastructure databases in Polardex. This will make DueSouth much more useful, flexible and provide a single product for logistical collaboration.
DueSouth is a tool to find potential collaborators for fieldwork and facilitate coordination of deployments across nations. The database is populated with information provided by the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP), the OceanOPS database of upcoming voyages (previously JCOMMOPS), fishery vessels information from the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), tourism vessel information from the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO) and information provided by the Southern Ocean research community together with the SOOS International Project Office. Currently, SOOS is working with other voyage coordination bodies to arrange more automatic feeds into DueSouth.
SOOS and the EPB have been working with the Polar Observing Assets Working Group to standardise the database structures. Since there are no agreed standards for how to standardise information about logistical resources and science assets, SOOS and the EPB are working towards standardising these data so that, in the future, it will be easy to share logistical information across geographic regions and countries.
SOOS is looking forward to the launch of Polardex, as the new home for Due South and as one of the major outcomes of our successful cooperation. We thank everyone, who was working so hard to make this possible!
The development of Polardex has been a truly collaborative affair, with many partners contributing input to its design and development, as well as provision of the information presented in it. Polardex’s development has been led by the EPB’s Action Group on Infrastructure, Chaired by Miki Ojeda. Partners in Polardex’s development and contributors of information are the Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS), the Svalbard Integrated Arctic Earth Observing System (SIOS), the International Network for Terrestrial Research and Monitoring in the Arctic (INTERACT), EU-PolarNet 2, the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP), the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), Isaaffik, the Arctic Research Icebreaker Consortium (ARICE), EUROFLEETS, the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), and the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). The Polardex application was built by Blue Lobster IT Ltd.