60 years of images digitalised as Antarctica NZ looks to the future

“The platform has evolved into a sophisticated outreach tool for the Antarctic community."

Antarctica New Zealand has launched a digital platform which makes thousands of images and videos of the country’s proud Antarctic history available to the public.

Originally designed as a photo archive, this affectionately named tool, ADAM, is a custom-designed web-platform showcasing more than 40,000 images dating back to 1957.

The collection hosts images from Sir Edmond Hillary’s record-breaking push to the South Pole on his Massey Fergusson tractor, and the Trans-Antarctic Expedition Hut – the very first building at Scott Base.

Also, the collection includes images of 3000 penguins, more than 1000 seals, 200 whales and a cat on the ice.

In addition, there are images from 13 international Antarctic programmes, 21 different branches of science, with over 1100 individual photographers credited for their work.

Through the new technology, Antarctica New Zealand has been able to geo-tag more than 25,000 locations attributed to the sites of stunning imagery loaded into the platform.

“The platform has evolved into a sophisticated outreach tool for the Antarctic community,” says Peter Beggs, CEO, Antarctica New Zealand.

“It not only serves as a record of New Zealand’s proud heritage in Antarctica, it provides a mechanism to share the Antarctic content in living rooms of families across the world each keen to learn more about this precious environment.”

According to Beggs, the Antarctic community is very passionate, and ADAM Project Manager, Jenny Ryan, is an Antarctican whose love for Antarctica and information-sharing has driven the success of this project.

“Antarctica New Zealand is grateful to the many cataloguers who worked to ensure the metadata attached to each image is as accurate as we can make it,” she adds.

“The quality of information represented within this tool is a testament to the research and input of the wider Antarctic community.

“This project has taken 60-years of images which were stored in a dated filing cabinet in a cold-store facility in Christchurch, and produced a future proof-platform which all Kiwis can be proud of.”

According to Ryan, the commitment of Wellington web-based platform developer New Zealand Micrographic Services has also been significant.

“Their flexibility and willingness to innovate, create and adapt existing systems to produce this unique platform has been unwavering,” she adds.

At present, ADAM currently contains more than 400,000 nodes of data, including personal profiles, event information and geographic locations, along with journal transcripts and video records.

“But we have more work to do,” adds Jeanine Begg, General Manager Marketing and Communications, Antarctica New Zealand.

“We need the support of fellow Antarcticans and the wider community to further develop this asset. If more information is known about a photo or video, the crowd-sourcing capability of the site means we can better enhance our strong historic records.”

Going forward, Antarctica New Zealand is confident this platform hosts the largest collection of Antarctic imagery in the world.

As such, an application has been made to the Guinness World Records, with confirmation of claim acceptance expected in the near future.

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