The IPY Project Polar View – an international consortium of companies, government agencies and research institutes across Europe and North America providing satellite earth observation monitoring and forecasting services in the Polar Regions and other areas affected by snow and ice – has recently received recognition from the European Space Agency (ESA) as a valuable service worthy of continued funding under the GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) programme.
Since 2005, Polar View has been a "one stop shop" for a wide variety of earth observation products which monitor sea ice cover, glacier runoff, snow cover, snow melt, icebergs, river ice and lake ice. Products are delivered in an automated and timely manner to meet the specific needs of its growing number of diverse end users, which include government hydrological services, merchant vessels and icebreakers, the tourism industry in the Polar Regions and beyond, indigenous Arctic communities, and even long-distance yacht races.
This new round of ESA funding will provide additional support to sustain Polar View's activities from late 2009 until late 2012. However in the next few years the consortium intends to incorporate and become a self-sustaining legal entity independent from ESA and GMES funding. Costs of the services Polar View provides will be paid either directly by the end user or through local, national or international funding schemes. At the moment a majority of its services are entirely self-sustainable, with a view to becoming fully sustainable by 2012.
In cooperation with the International Polar Foundation, IPY featured a story in August 2009 on Polar View services.