An Integrated Bathymetric and Topographic Digital Terrain Model of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago


Currently, the International Bathymetric Chart of the Arctic Ocean (IBCAO) [Jakobsson et al. 2000], contains the most up-to-date digital bathymetric model of the entire Canadian Arctic Archipelago. IBCAO is a seamless bathymetric/topographic Digital Terrain Model (DTM) that incorporates three primary data sets: all available bathymetric data at the time of compilation; the US Geological Survey GTOPO30 topographic data; and the World Vector Shoreline for coastline representation. The horizontal grid cell size is 2.5 x 2.5 km on a Polar Stereographic projection, which is adequate for regional visualization and analysis, but which may not be sufficient for certain geoscientific and oceanographic applications. However, the database that was constructed during the IBCAO project holds bathymetric data of a high quality throughout most of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, justifying a compilation resolution that is better than 2.5 x 2.5 km. This data is primarily from historical hydrographic surveys that were carried out by the Canadian Hydrographic Survey (CHS). The construction of a higher resolution bathymetry/topography DTM of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (complete with an error estimation of interpolated grid cells) requires a consideration of historical metadata which contains detailed descriptions of horizontal and vertical datums, positioning systems, and the depth sounding systems that were deployed during individual surveys. A significant portion of this metadata does not exist in digital form; it was not available during the IBCAO compilation, although due to the relatively low resolution of the original DTM (2.5 x 2.5 km), its absence was considered a lesser problem. We have performed "data detective" work and have extracted some of the more crucial metadata from CHS archives and are thus able to present a preliminary version of a seamless Digital Terrain Model of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. This represents a significant improvement over the original IBCAO DTM in this area. The use of a merged seamless bathymetry/topography model substantially facilitates the overlay and incorporation of other spatially referenced geological and geophysical datasets. For example, one intended use of the model is to merge the results from the mapping of regional glacial morphology features, in order to further address the glacial history of the region.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

EOS Transactions, American Geophysical Union




Fall Meeting, 2002

Conference Date

Dec 5 - Dec 9, 2002

Publisher Place

San Francisco, CA, USA


American Geophysical Union Publications

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

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