Blog: Launching the Port Lockroy Data Portal

11 February, 2021

Scientific Data Manager Claudia Havranek, UK Polar Data Centre, presents the Port Lockroy Data Portal.

Port Lockroy, Goudier Island, is a popular Antarctic tourist destination. Over the past 20 years thousands of visitors have been welcomed to the island, drawn by the dramatic scenery and historic buildings.

Port Lockroy was set up on the 11th February 1944, and was the first permanent British Antarctic base. To celebrate the founding of Port Lockroy as ‘Base A’ in Antarctica on the 11th February, today the UK Polar Data Centre is launching a website to share unique data from the island.

A man that is standing in the snow
Ashton in front of base ‘A’ hut. 26th Oct 1944. (Photographer: Ivan Mackenzie Lamb; Archives ref: AD6/19/1/A52)

I have been working on this data portal for several months. Building the Port Lockroy data portal has been an exciting project, drawing together the collaborative expertise of several parties, including Data Managers at the UK Polar Data Centre, Scientists at BAS, and staff at UKAHT. It has involved several stages: gathering the data and metadata, publishing the datasets with unique Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) to ensure they can be correctly referenced, visualising the data, and building the webpages.

The Port Lockroy data portal has been designed to share three long-term datasets, collected in a collaboration between the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust and British Antarctic Survey. These datasets include: population counts of Gentoo penguins, recorded since 1996; beach debris counts, recorded on the shores of Goudier Island since 2014; and visitor counts to Goudier Island, recorded since 1996.

A herd of sheep standing on top of a snow covered mountain
Farrington swimming in boat harbour, Goudier Is. 6th Jan 1945. (Photographer I.M. Lamb. Archives Ref. AD6/19/1/A94/29)

Sharing these data is of particular importance as the open sharing of data underpins Article III of the Antarctic Treaty – scientific observations and results from Antarctica shall be exchanged and made freely available.” Upholding this Treaty ensures that Antarctica is used for peaceful and scientific purposes only.

Water next to the ocean
Two overlapping views of Goudier Islet, seen from N. side, with Sierra du Fief (Wiencke Is.). 6th Jan 1945. (Photographer: Ivan Mackenzie Lamb; Archives ref: AD6/19/1/A121)

I hope this portal will be of interest to everyone: from tourists lucky enough to visit Port Lockroy in the past (or future), to scientists, to school children wanting to learn more about Antarctica. I most enjoyed building the Learning Resources page, which I hope will be of particular interest to aspiring young female scientists. The launch date of the 11th February is not only the founding of Port Lockroy, but also International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2021.

Explore the data portal here: