Virtual Antarctica

Virtual Antarctica

Start date
23 January, 2017

Virtual Antarctica uses the latest photographic image/scanning technology to produce immersive 360° virtual reality journeys through our research facilities. Whether you are a polar researcher planning your forthcoming Antarctic fieldwork, a teacher preparing lesson plans, or a friend of someone living and working in Antarctica, this innovative technology aims to give you an opportunity to discover this amazing world.

As well as exploring Antarctica on PCs, laptops or phones we will be taking VR headsets to events and exhibitions to give visitors a taste of what it’s really like to be in the frozen continent. We use a 3D camera to collect accurate visual and spatial data that enables us to map entire areas.

Phase one of the project

The first phase of this project (2017-18) involves BAS Creative Services Manager Pete Bucktrout capturing 3D images of our offices and laboratories in Cambridge, and at our Antarctic and sub-Antarctic research facilities. He’s been onboard the RRS James Clark Ross and will in future be creating a virtual tour for our new polar research ship RRS Sir David Attenborough.

Future phases

Augmented reality, where users can navigate through the 3D experience to discover more about our science, people, places or equipment are planned from 2018.

Coupled within these VR worlds will be embedded video, documents and sounds to help tell our engineering and science stories as well as allowing visitors to take journeys around our stations, ships and aircraft. We will also create access to a downloadable App giving full VR capabilities to your own mobile devices.

Test drive the demo VR 360°

Virtual Antarctica has three distinct but related strands:

Science Communication

  • enable scientific collaborators to view Antarctic research facilities
  • utilise capability for augmented content about science on stations, ships and aircraft

Public engagement in research

  • create an immersive virtual access to scientific and operational facilities using innovative technology
  • provide deep insight into scientific research carried out in Antarctica
  • create an exhibition asset for use in our partnerships with museums and science centres

Operational and engineering use

  • provide an introduction to Antarctic research facilities for people preparing to work in Antarctica
  • provide a virtual training environment for operational, engineering maintenance and technical teams preparing to work in Antarctica
  • utilise capability to link to operational and building management software


A man wearing a hat and sunglasses posing for the camera.

Pete Bucktrout

Senior Creative Services Manager

Innovation team, Communications team

A man wearing a hat posing for the camera.

Jamie Oliver

- Creative Services Manager

Communications team

Signy Research Station

Signy Research Station is one of Britain’s smallest stations, and is only occupied in summer. The island’s abundant wildlife and greenery make it an ideal outdoor laboratory. Research at Signy …

Bird Island Research Station

Bird Island Research Station is an important centre for research into bird and seal biology. Lying off the north-west tip of South Georgia, Bird Island is one of the richest …