Dataset Information
Orthomosaics of Ross Island Penguin Colonies 2019 - 2021
Data DOI:
Cite as
Ballard, G., Schmidt, A., & Shah, K. (2022) "Orthomosaics of Ross Island Penguin Colonies 2019 - 2021" U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) Data Center. doi:
AMD - DIF Record(s)
These data are results from a novel multirobot path-planning method for conducting aerial surveys over large areas designed to make the best use of limited flight time. We implemented our planning algorithm with a team of drones to conduct multiple photographic aerial wildlife surveys of Cape Crozier, one of the largest Adélie penguin colonies in the world containing more than 300,000 nesting pairs. We used the same technique at the two smaller Adélie penguin colonies on Ross Island (Cape Bird and Cape Royds). At Cape Crozier, over 2 square kilometers was surveyed in about 3 hours. In contrast, previous human-piloted single-drone surveys of the same colony required over 2 days to complete. The resulting data are geo-referenced, 3d images of penguin colonies created from the UAV imagery. Raw images were stitched together using Metashape (
Date Created:
USAP-DC (current)
Spatial Extent(s)
West: 165, East: 170, South: -78, North: -77
Temporal Extent(s)
Start: 2019-12-02 - End: 2021-12-02
  1. Shah, K., Ballard, G., Schmidt, A., & Schwager, M. (2020). Multidrone aerial surveys of penguin colonies in Antarctica. Science Robotics, 5(47), eabc3000. (doi:10.1126/scirobotics.abc3000)
  2. Shah, K., Schmidt, A. E., Ballard, G., & Schwager, M. (2022). Large scale aerial multi-robot coverage path planning. Field Robotics, 2, 1971–1998. (doi:10.55417/fr.2022064)
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MD5 Checksum: 5588be6fae7041f5ccca2e118502cef5 File Type: XML; Tagged Image File Format (TIFF); Readme Text File

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This dataset has been downloaded 1 time since March 2017 (based on unique date-IP combinations)