Worldview Snapshots is now available! The new low bandwidth web interface will be replacing the Rapid Response Subsets. Users can select custom bounding boxes and imagery layers with the new low bandwidth web interface. Users will be allowed to save their preferences with a URL and come back to the URL to retrieve their imagery of choice. Please transition to Worldview Snapshots as the Rapid Response Subsets will be discontinued soon.

If you are not constrained by bandwidth you can already switch to NASA’s Worldview and Global Imagery Browse Services (GIBS), which provides access to the same imagery available in Rapid Response, and many more layers! In Worldview users can create georeferenced image snapshots and download as GeoTIFF, PNG, JPEG or KMZ files – for more information, see the Worldview and GIBS FAQ.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact


The MODIS Rapid Response System generates complete mosaic images of Antarctica every day from December 4, 2008, to the present. Images are available throughout austral late spring, summer, and early fall as long as enough visible light is present to generate an image of the region. Since lighting is poor in austral late fall, winter, and early spring, images will not be generated during that period.

Mosaic images are available in photo-like, true color from both the Terra and Aqua satellites at 4km, 2km, 1km resolutions. A 367 false-color image is also generated from Terra data. The mosaic is composed of smaller image tiles, which are available individually at 250 m, 500 m, 1 km, 2 km, and 4 km resolutions.

The mosaic and additional information are available at:

Daily mosaic of Antarctica

More information about the mosaic

In addition to the mosaic of the entire region, a number of "cropped" subsets have been created for smaller specific regions. The advantage of this cropping approach is that the higher resolutions (500m and 250m) are easily available without the end user having to download and possibly piece together multiple tiles to cover the area of interest.

These cropped subset images are generated "on the fly" from the underlying tiles, so the first time an image is generated it will take a few moments (or more than a few for the higher resolutions) to load on the page. After the first request, the image will stay in cache for awhile and will be served up quickly.

Other Rapid Response Antarctica Projects:

Rapid Ice Sheet Change Observatory (RISCO) Antarctic Regions
Rapid Ice Sheet Change Observatory (RISCO) Antarctic Areas
US Antarctic Program Operations Areas

Additional cropped subsets may be created upon request, please contact us.

Subset image regions are listed below. In a few cases, the subset images predate the mosaic and so have a longer archive and are being generated in a different map projection than the mosaic. The subset images that are cropped from the mosaic will have the same map projection as the mosaic. For information about the projection of each individual subset, select the subset below. Click on one of the daily images, such as this image from January 8, 2009, and click on Display metadata.

Here is a brief description of the overlapping subset regions:

RossSea - Lambert Azimuthal 15 November 2004 to 27 April 2010, Polar Stereographic 28 April 2010 to present
RossSea4 - identical to Polar Stereographic RossSea, 4 December 2008 to present
RossSea2 - larger extent than RossSea, Lambert Azimuthal 20 February 2007 to 2 May 2008
RossSea3 - similar extent to RossSea2, Polar Stereographic 4 December 2008 to present

PalmerStation - Lambert Azimuthal 2 November 2006 to 18 August 2010
PalmerStation2 - similar extent to PalmerStation, Polar Stereographic 4 December 2008 to present

Select a subset:

  • AERONET_AntarcticaDomeC
  • McMurdoSound
  • MertzGlacier
  • PalmerStation
  • PalmerStation2
  • PineIslandCruise
  • RossSea
  • RossSea2
  • RossSea3
  • RossSea4