Geographic Information

Geographic Information System (GIS) datasets available for downloading

How to download GIS datasets

  • Read this whole page before you download files. It includes information about conditions of use, file formats, how to use the download files and projections.
  • Before you are able to download, you will be prompted to login to the Australian Antarctic Data Centre's portal at the top right of the page. If you are using the portal for the first time, create your own logon name and password.
  • When selecting the files you would like to download, include the readme file listed with each dataset, which is a copy of the information provided on this page.
  • Access the download area.

Conditions of use

 Unless otherwise noted, the following copyright policy applies to all images, text and data viewed or downloaded from the Australian Antarctic Data Centre.

All images, text and downloadable data are copyright © Commonwealth of Australia 2006, unless otherwise stated, in which case the copyright belongs to the respective authors or data originators as indicated. 

Clear acknowledgement of the Australian Antarctic Division is to be given on any product resulting from the use of Commonwealth copyright images, text and data. 

Material marked © Commonwealth of Australia 2006 may be downloaded, displayed, printed and reproduced in an unaltered form only for your personal, non-commercial use or for use by your organisation. 

The Australian Antarctic Division must be cited as the source of the material as follows: 

Courtesy Australian Antarctic Division © Commonwealth of Australia 2006 Use of any material marked © author_name or © photographer_name is not permitted without specific permission from that author, or photographer. 

Apart from uses as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, all other rights are reserved by the Commonwealth of Australia. The Australian Antarctic Division accepts no responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the data. 

You consent to your name, organisation, e-mail address and contact phone number being recorded and acknowledge that downloads are monitored and statistics generated by the AADC. 

You consent to the possibility that the Australian Antarctic Division may contact you regarding your use of downloaded data.


If the data is modified or improved in any way because of the detection of errors, the Australian Antarctic Data Centre should be given a copy of the updated dataset, along with an updated metadata record. This helps the AADC maintain high quality data.

Downloaded File Formats

The files you have downloaded from our web site are shapefiles.

They are gzipped to compress them for transfer. They can be uncompressed on most platforms using packages like WinZip (PC) and GNU Gzip (UNIX). New or updated files will be zipped to compress them for transfer as of November 2007.

How to use these files

Uncompress the files. The shapefiles can be used in ArcGIS, ArcView 3 or ArcExplorer.

If you don't have any GIS software then, uncompress the files. You can use ArcExplorer, a free GIS data viewer, or other free GIS software.


All datasets are stored in geographicals, that is with latitude and longitude values. Each dataset includes a projection file *.par, that gives the details of the projection the dataset is in, in this case geographicals, and a recommended projection to convert to for mapping.

Information about the most commonly used projections in the Australian Antarctic Program. See Projections.

Geographic data requests (for Australia's Antarctic Program)

The Australian Antarctic Data Centre assists those working in Australia's Antarctic Program by providing advice to extract information from GIS data and to optimise the use of the data.

We provide advice on:

  1. The use of GIS software to
    a. import data to GIS format;
    b. manage GIS data;
    c. visualise GIS data (including producing maps);
    d. query and analyse GIS data;
    e. model catchment areas and drainage using GIS data.
  2. Choosing appropriate map projections.
  3. Access to GIS software and applications.

Map production

The Australian Antarctic Data Centre produces maps when they can be used for a range of applications. Because of resourcing limitations, we cannot usually produce one-off maps for publications.

Production of 'one-off simple' maps for inclusion in scientific publications (Australian Antarctic Division staff only)

A large number of pre-made maps produced by the Australian Antarctic Data Centre can be accessed using our online Map Catalogue. Those in digital form are available for downloading, generally as pdf files.

The Australian Antarctic Data Centre encourages those working in Australia's Antarctic Program with map production needs to build skills in the use of GIS software. This allows clients to produce maps as and when required. We encourage those who produce maps to submit their drafts to the Data Centre for constructive suggestions prior to publication.

The Data Centre also provides assistance to those working in Australia's Antarctic Program who require maps that could be produced by external contractors. Advice includes drafting of specifications and the provision of data.

If you have any GIS related queries please log a request.

Map Projections and Symbology

More information about map projections and the symbology used by the Australian Antarctic Program can be found in the Projections and Symbology document.