List of Functions

The Antarctic Mapping Tools (AMT) package for Matlab contains functions for working with Antarctic geospatial data and creating maps in Matlab. These functions are called by several data-specific plugins for AMT.


Lookup functions

These functions search databases for location names:

Coordinate Transformations

Currently, polar stereographic coordinate transformations are supported by AMT. Let me know if you'd like to see more.

Other useful calculations

These functions often come in handy when analyzing Antarctic geospatial data:

Mapping in polar stereographic coordinates

These functions plot georeferenced (lat,lon) data in polar stereographic meters or kilometers. They do not require Matlab's Mapping Toolbox.

Mapping in unprojected coordinates

Oceanographers seem to like making maps in unprojected coordinates, where longitudes are plotted as x values, latitudes are y values, and south is always on the bottom. Unprojected coordinates tend to have quite a bit of spatial distortion near the poles, but if your data are gridded in equally-spaced lats and lons, it might make sense to give each grid cell equal real estate in your plot. If you want to plot in unprojected coordinates, simply use Matlab's standard plotting functions, but replace x with lon and y with lat. For example,


and so forth. AMT does not provide much support for plotting in unprojected coordinates. In fact, as of now there's just one function for unprojected coordinates:

Mapping with Matlab's Mapping Toolbox

I've recently been moving away from dependence on Matlab's Mapping Toolbox because most folks don't have it, it's expensive, it's often computationally inefficient, and troubleshooting can be a bear. Nonetheless, if you do use Matlab's Mapping Toolbox, these functions might make your life a little more convenient:

Helper functions

A couple of functions exist mostly in the background, but were developed at some point or another to assist an AMT plugin.

Data-specific plugins

Here's a list of data-specific plugins available for AMT. Newer datasets may be available, so check the Matlab File Exchange site for the AMT tag if you want to make sure you're up to date:

DEMs and masks

Grounding lines, coast lines, and ice shelf outlines:

Satellite image mosaics:

Other gridded datasets:

Other polygons:

Tools developed for specific types of analyses:

Please, feel free to develop and share your own AMT plugins.

Getting started with AMT

If you're new to AMT, new to glaciology, or new to Matlab, I recommend going through the tutorial called AMT Getting Started. It will walk you through some of the basics. Then go though the documentation files for each of the functions and make sure you understand how the work. If anything doesn't make sense or doesn't work, drop me a line and I'll be glad to help troubleshoot.

More examples

Taking inspiration from musical fake books, I have written a number of AMT-related example files and I'm calling them a Glaciology Fake Book. The Glaciology Fake Book is intended to

  1. teach how scientific results were obtained,
  2. ensure scientific repeatability, and
  3. provide examples of how to use AMT functions.

In addition to the Glaciology Fake Book, I've written a few other examples which rely heavily on AMT. How to estimate subglacial flow accumulation uses TopoToolbox to generate subglacial water routing maps. and How to drape Landsat images over Bedmap2 topography explains, well, how to drape Landsat images over Bedmap2 topography.

Citing Antarctic Mapping Tools for Matlab

If Antarctic Mapping Tools is useful for you, please cite the paper that describes AMT. If you use any datasets that are available as plugins for AMT, cite those datasets too. Here's how you can cite AMT:

Greene, C. A., Gwyther, D. E., & Blankenship, D. D. Antarctic Mapping Tools for Matlab. Computers & Geosciences. 104 (2017) pp.151-157. doi:10.1016/j.cageo.2016.08.003.

Or you may prefer BibTeX:

  title={{Antarctic Mapping Tools for \textsc{Matlab}}},
  author={Greene, Chad A and Gwyther, David E and Blankenship, Donald D},
  journal={Computers \& Geosciences},

Author Info

Antarctic Mapping Tools, supporting plugins, and all documentation were written by Chad Greene of the University of Texas at Austin's Institute for Geophysics with some help from David Gwyther of the University of Tasmania. Some bits in AMT were adapted from codes written by Andrew Bliss, Kelly Kearney, and Andrew Roberts.