lima documentation

This function plots a subregion or continent-wide image of the center-filled 240 m resolution Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica. The mosaic is comprised of Landsat 7 images taken primarly between 1999 and 2003. For higher resoltion, you must download tiles individually from the USGS website.



[h,I,lat,lon] = lima(...)


lima plots a continent-wide LIMA image downsampled to 1920 m resolution.

lima(lat,lon) plots a 500 km wide LIMA image centered on geographic coordinates lat,lon.

lima(x,y) plots a 500 km wide LIMA image centered on polar stereographic (true latitude 71S) coordinates x,y. Polar stereographic coordinates are assumed if any value exceeds normal lat/lon values.

lima('LocationString') plots a 500 km wide LIMA image centered on the SCAR-identified 'LocationString', e.g., lima('mcmurdo station').

lima(...,mapwidthkm) specifies a map width in kilometers. Default mapwidth is 500. Larger mapwidth values take more time to render.

lima(...,'xy') plots the image in polar stereographic coordinates. If you have Matlab's Mapping Toolbox, geo coordinates are used by default. If you do not have Matlab's Mapping Toolbox, polar stereographic coordinates are automatically selected. If you have the Mapping Toolbox, but you'd like to plot in polar stereographic coordinates, include the 'xy' tag. For this function, polar stereographic mapping tends load and render a little faster than plotting on a georeferenced map.

[h,I,lat,lon] = lima(...) returns handle h of plotted image, the image I, and geographic coordinates lat and lon.

Alternative functions

Other image functions are available on the Mathworks File Exchange site. Antarctic Mapping Tools plugins include landsat, which plots recentLandsat8 images, or modismoa, which plots a MODIS Mosaic of Antarctica image.


The first time you rum lima it will look for a file called 00000-20080314-144756363.jp2, which you can manually download here, or you can let lima attempt to download the file automatically. The file is 192 MB, so it may take some time to download.

Example 1: The continent


Example 2: Center on a place by its name

Enter the name of almost any place, and lima will find it:

lima 'wilkins ice shelf'

Example 3: Combine options.

Plot a 1200 kilometer wide image of the area surrounding (75°S,60°W). Plot in polar stereographic coordinates, because that's a little bit faster.


Citing LIMA

If you use LIMA data, please cite the following: U.S Geological Survey, 2007, Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica (LIMA): U.S Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2007?3116, 4 p.

Robert Bindschadler, Patricia Vornberger, Andrew Fleming, Adrian Fox, Jerry Mullins, Douglas Binnie, Sara Jean Paulsen, Brian Granneman, David Gorodetzky, The Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica, Remote Sensing of Environment, Volume 112, Issue 12, 15 December 2008, Pages 4214-4226, ISSN 0034-4257,

Author Info

The lima function and supporting documentation were created by Chad A. Greene of the University of Texas at Austin's Institute for Geophysics (UTIG). February 2015.