Top of page

Polar View: Using satellite data to serve the Canadian Arctic


Uploaded on March 8, 2021


Polar View: Using satellite data to serve the Canadian Arctic

2021-03-08 – Meet Polar View, a company that uses Earth observation data to serve the Canadian Arctic. The Canadian Arctic is home to over 200,000 people. Travelling on sea ice is an essential part of their lives. But due to climate change, Canada's North is warming up two to three times faster than the rest of the planet. This causes sea ice to melt, making traditional knowledge of the icescape less reliable. Space technologies, namely satellites, can help. (Credits: Canadian Space Agency, Polar View, Andreas Cziferszky, British Antarctic Survey, C-CORE, Thomas Puestow, Steffen M. Olsen, Danish Meteorological Institute)


Narrator: Did you know that the Arctic Archipelago and the Canadian North are home to over 200,000 people and represent over 40% of our country’s land area?

With climate change, Canada’s North is warming up two to three times faster than the rest of our planet. This causes sea ice to melt, altering life in the region. Earth observation data can help.

Meet Polar View, an organization that harnesses space data to address the needs of people in the Arctic.

David Arthurs is the Managing Director.

David Arthurs: Polar View is a consortium of about 25 organizations, from the public, private and academic sectors, across North America and Europe, and we all use Earth observation data in operational services.

We provide services to northern communities, scientists, and to others that operate in the Arctic, such as operators of marine vessels.

Narrator: Polar View provides vital information and services related to ice monitoring in areas affected by ice and snow.

One of the organization’s projects deals with defining the boundary between fast ice – which is ice attached to the shore – and mobile ice that floats in the open Arctic waters.

David Arthurs: For northern communities, the ability to travel along the sea ice, is important for their culture, their livelihoods, and their ability to hunt. The boundary between the immobile ice, attached to the shore, and the open sea ice, is very highly biologically productive.

So, there are a lot of animals there. As a result, that is where people want to go to hunt, and it’s where tourists want to go, to see wildlife.

In the Arctic, satellite data is critical, because the area is very large, hostile, and it’s very expensive to collect data, in any other means. So, without satellite data, we couldn’t provide these services.

We provide the community ice service through a Web site where users can go to see the most recent information.

It’s a perfect example of how traditional ways of life, can be supported by space age technology. Canada is really big, and without things like Earth observation, there’s no way to monitor the very large land mass that we have.

Satellite Earth observation monitoring, provides benefits in multiple ways: economic, sustainable development, supporting traditional ways of life, and monitoring our land mass, as an Arctic nation.


For the ownership and usage of the videos, please see the Terms section.

Date modified: