The cartographers at British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have re-produced a high-resolution updated map of the sub-antarctic island of South Georgia. The island, situated at 37°W 54°10’S is a haven for wildlife, a centre for wildlife and fisheries research and famous for the epic voyage by Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men in May 1916.
Last updated in 2004, the map has new features including new bays and lakes created by recent glacier retreat. An interesting addition is a detailed map of the Shackleton Crossing, which is popular for mountaineers wishing to follow in the path of the great explorer’s 1916 expedition. This was produced in collaboration with the expedition and advisory panel at the Government of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI), who frequently advise visitors on routes across the island.
BAS has an in-house mapping team which is responsible for producing paper and web maps of the polar regions for the UK, and works closely with UK researchers to provide detailed maps for field work. The South Georgia map is produced at a 1:200 000 scale.
The Shackleton Crossing (1:40 000) includes three higher resolution maps, including the more dangerous parts of the crossing, including The Razorback and Breakwind Gap, which have near-vertical descents, which the Shackleton trio Shackleton, Tom Crean and Frank Worsley slid down by tobogganing on their coiled ropes.
Head of the Mapping and Geographic Information Centre at BAS, Dr Adrian Fox says:
“We are really pleased with our new map of South Georgia, which will appeal to mountaineers and tourists visiting the island. It’s important to frequently update maps of this region as the environment is changing. For instance, on the north side of the island there is the newly formed Twitcher Bay, formed due to the retreat of Twitcher Glacier of over 4 km since the last edition of the map, and the extension of Cumberland West Bay by more than 6 km due to the retreat of Neumayer Glacier.”