As President Obama tours the Arctic this week, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) announced Wednesday the launch of a public website to provide unclassified information about the region.

“In support of President Obama’s Jan. 21 Executive Order calling for enhanced coordination of national efforts in the Arctic, and in keeping with the 2013 Department of Defense Arctic Strategy, NGA is producing and publicly disseminating geospatial information of the region that will strengthen international cooperation and enhance understanding of the effects of climate change,” said NGA Director Robert Cardillo.

Using Esri’s ArcGIS platform, the NGA Arctic GEOINT Services website includes digital elevation models derived from DigitalGlobe satellite imagery to provide 3D representations of the Arctic surface. The models support land management, sustainable development, safe recreation, scientific studies, and domain-specific challenges essential to aviation, transportation, and defense. The website also features NGA nautical charts, sailing directions, shape files, and infographics, as well as a downloadable Pan-Arctic map including multiple layers, allowing users to study specific information such as search and rescue zones, navigational and meteorological warnings, and more.

Additionally, NGA is collaborating with the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to support Arctic initiatives. According to a White House fact sheet, NGA, NSF, and the U.S. Geological Survey have partnered with the University of Minnesota’s Polar Geospatial Center and other academic, private sector, and international stakeholders to create the first-ever publicly available, high-resolution, satellite-based elevation map of Alaska by mid-2016, and of the entire Arctic by mid-2017.

NGA Arctic GEOINT Services is NGA’s third unclassified website, joining its Nepal Earthquake and Ebola relief sites.

Photo Credit: NGA

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Posted by Lindsay Tilton Mitchell

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