The preparation of a US Geological Survey Professional Paper, “Satellite image atlas of glaciers”, has produced a 1:5 000 000 scale “Landsat index map of Antarctica”, in which each of the 2 470 Landsat nominal scene centers is represented by a symbol showing the suitability of available Landsat images for the preparation of planimetric image maps and for glaciological studies. Landsat has the potential for imaging about 79% of the area of Antarctica, and 70% of the Landsat imaging area, or about 55% of the continent, was found to have excellent or good (less than 10% cloud cover) coverage.
Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America have published Landsat image maps, either as single Landsat scenes or as mosaics of two or more images. The Federal Republic of Germany and the Republic of South Africa also plan to publish Landsat image maps in the near future.
Available Landsat images could be used, in combination with Doppler satellite technology for geodetic control, to triple the area of Antarctica presently mapped at scales of 1:250 000 or larger. Landsat-3 RBV images can also be used to prepare 1:100 000 scale image maps.In addition to eventually using Landsat images to compile an accurate coastline of Antarctica, Landsat images have been successfully used for glaciological studies. Recent measurements of successive images of Pine Island Glacier, Walgreen Coast, West Antarctica, showed an average speed of flow of the terminus of 6 m d−1 over 750 d.