Automatic Extraction of Glacial Outlines, Contours and Volume of Ice from Satellite Imageries (Use of Open Source GIS Software - QGIS)

Daljit Singh


Remote Sensing and GIS are the two Geo-Spatial Technologies increasingly used in Geographic Research. The high cost of the software’s used to apply these technologies to geographical data did not allow expansion of its use in India except in the projects which are financed by some funding agencies. Moreover, its use for individual research by teachers and students in absence of license access to these technologies was highly restricted. Even if a license is purchased by the educational institution, its maintenance cost further inhibits is use. The present paper highlights how QGIS, open source GIS software can be used to extract glaciers from satellite imageries. By adopting UBUNTU, an open source operating system and QGIS, an open source GIS software any department of Geography can establish a GIS laboratory where not only teachers but students may learn its applications and start using it in a big way. This will enable geography teachers, researchers, and students to use remote sensing and geographical information system in understanding, analyzing and highlighting the importance of various indicators of development.

Full Text:



Andreassen, L., et al., Ice thickness measurements and volume estimates for glaciers in Norway. Journal of Glaciology, 2015. 61(228): p. 763-775.

Bajracharya et al. (2011): The glaciers of the Hindu Kush Himalayas: current status and observed changes from the 1980s to 2010, published in International Journal of Water Resources Development , Volume 31, 2015 - Issue 2: Himalayan Waters at the Crossroads.

Cogley, J.G., R. Hock, L.A. Rasmussen, A.A. Arendt, A. Bauder, R.J. Braithwaite, P. Jansson, G. Kaser, M. Moller, L. Nicholson and M. Zemp, 2011, Glossary of Glacier Mass Balance and Related Terms, IHP-VII Technical Documents in Hydrology No. 86, IACS Contribution No. 2, UNESCO-IHP, Paris.

Frey et al. ( 2014): Estimating the volume of glaciers in the Himalayan-Karakoram regopm using different methods, The Cryosphere, 8.

Grinsted, A., An estimate of global glacier volume. The Cryosphere, 2013. 7(1): p. 141-151.

IHCAP- Training Workshop on Applied Glaciology (Feb 2-5, 2016) organized by SBS(M) College, University of Delhi.

Raup et al. (2007): The GLIMS geospatial glacier database: A new tool for studying glacier change, published in Global and Planetary Change 56 (2007) 101–110.



  • There are currently no refbacks.