Free Resources


PTGA provides a number of resources that are available for free to the general public. Our members also have access to a wide selection of useful guiding, training and education resources . To access these, please join the PTGA.










  • AECO – Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators – is an international association for expedition cruise operators operating in the Arctic and others with interests in this industry. A great set of resources and critical information for any guide working in the north. Check out their new ‘pre-trip’ video mandatory for all passengers.
  • IAATO – International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators. A member organization founded in 1991 to advocate and promote the practice of safe and environmentally responsible private-sector travel to the Antarctic. They administer the Field Staff Test for all PTI staff working in Antarctica and produce a useful Field staff newsletter through the Antarctic season.
  • NASA Earth Observatory Imagery – Imagery and videos of the earth from space. Resources of glaciers and sea ice for both the Arctic and the Antarctic.
  • European Space Agency – Imagery and resources of the earth from space for both Arctic and the Antarctic.
  • NOAA Ocean Service Online Education – Educational resources for The Global Conveyer Belt and Ocean Currents.
  • UK Antarctic Heritage Trust – An excellent resource for learning about British heritage sites along the Antarctic Peninsula.
  • South Georgia Heritage Trust – A great way to stay up to date on information in South Georgia with good heritage and historic educational content.
  • Antarctic Science Foundation – The Antarctic Science Foundation advances the understanding and protection of our planet through investing in Antarctic science.
  • Antarctic Environments Portal – The Antarctic Environments Portal provides an important link between Antarctic science and Antarctic policy, by allowing easy access to reliable, science-based information on a range of issues relevant to the management of the Antarctic environment.
  • Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) – Multitude of educational research and resources for Antarctica
  • Cruising Handbook for Svalbard – A great online resource for guides. Information on geology, natural environment, history and cultural heritage sites along Svalbard.
  • The University of the Arctic – UArctic is a cooperative network of universities, colleges, research institutes and other organizations concerned with education and research in and about the North.
  • Spitsbergen-Svalbard – The online companion to Rolf Stange’s book Spitsbergen-Svalbard.



  • Svalbard Maps – Resource for researching new locations & new trips. Be sure to check with AECO for restricted areas.
  • Svalbard Kartet  – WebGIS for Svalbard can overlay different thematic map layers and has advanced querying tools.
  • Quantarctica – Community-based and peer-reviewed Antarctic geographical datasets which works with the free, cross-platform, open-source software QGIS.
  • British Antarctic Survey Maps – Topographic maps of the Antarctic and the Arctic including the Antarctic Peninsula and South Georgia. Maps can be ordered online through the BAS, UKAHT, or the Scott Polar Research Institute.
  • Antarctic Peninsula Information Portal – Open-source WebGIS for the Antarctic Peninsula with thematic map layers run by the British Antarctic Survey.



  • Polar Citizen Science Collective – An excellent group of scientists and outdoor professionals leading the way with citizen science. The Polar Collective facilitates ship-based citizen science programs.
  • Happy Whale – A fantastic program to link whale fluke images taken around the globe in order to better understand the movements of these great creatures.
  • Oceanites – Oceanites is an environmental, scientific and educational non-profit organization founded by Ron Naveen in 1987.
  • Birdlife International – BirdLife has nine global programs, each responding to specific conservation issues.
  • Fjord Phyto – From the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Fjord Phyto runs citizen science programs in fjords of the Arctic and along the west Antarctic Peninsula.
  • NASA GLOBE Program – Sponsored by NASA, this program helps collect data to better understand the different types of clouds and the effects they have on our Earth’s climate.
  • Penguin Watch – Help scientists monitor penguin populations through camera footage in Antarctica.
  • MAPPPD – Mapping Application for Penguin Populations and Projected Dynamics is an open access decision support tool designed for managers, scientists and the general public. 


Below are smartphone apps recommended by guides who use them. We are in no way compensated for recommending these particular applications.

  • IAATO Polar Guide – A valuable support tool for field guides to have safe and responsible travel to Antarctica.
  • Gaia GPS – A reliable GPS app that allows downloads of topographic maps around the world. Works offline with downloaded maps.
  • iSailor – A marine navigation app using Transas TX-97 format marine vector charts, rated among the best in the industry. Chart regions cover most popular cruising areas in the world.
  • Navionics – A marine navigation app from Garmin with detailed charts of marine areas, lakes and rivers providing boaters with detailed cartography, HD bathymetry, and advanced features for use with their GPS chartplotters and mobile devices.
  • Windy – The app version of the online weather radar. Needs internet or data connectivity to load current weather.
  • Merlin Bird ID – From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, a free application that works offline. Download the Scandinavian package for Svalbard and the Chile package for many species in the Drake Passage.
  • Antarctic Wildlife – A guide to the birds, seals, and whales likely to be encountered on a voyage to the Antarctic Peninsula, The Falkland Islands and South Georgia.
  • Here and There Svalbard – Travel with the complete map of Svalbard, Bear Island and Jan Mayen. Amazing high resolution maps down to a scale of 1:70 000 (Requires 1 GB of space).
  • Svalbardguiden – Offline Topographic map of Svalbard. Includes place names and GPS location.


Below is a short selection of informative books related to the polar regions (and there are many more books out there). Each of these books is available for purchase as an eBook so you can have them on your smart phone or eReader while traveling or at home. 

Antarctica eBooks

  • The Storied Ice by Joan N. Boothe
  • Frozen Empires by Adrian Howkins
  • Antarctica: A Guide to the Wildlife by Tony Soper
  • Spying on Whales by Nick Pyenson
  • South by Sir Ernest Shackleton
  • Antarctica: A Biography by David Day
  • The Voyage of the Why Not? by Dr. Jean-Baptiste Charcot
  • Antarctica: or, Two Years Amongst the Ice of the South Pole by Otto Nordenskjöld
  • The Worst Journey in the World: Memoirs: The 1910–1913 British Antarctic Expedition by Apsley Cherry-Garrard
  • The Home of the Blizzard Being the Story of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1914 by Sir Douglas Mawson
  • Ron Counts Penguins, a Children’s e-book by Ron Naveen (now available for free here)

Arctic eBooks

  • The Arctic Guide: Wildlife of the Far North by Sharon Chester
  • A Naturalist’s Guide to the Arctic by E.C. Pielou
  • Ice Bear: The Cultural History of an Arctic Icon by Michael Engelhard
  • Wildlife of the Arctic by Richard Sale and Per Michelsen
  • The History of the Arctic by John McCannon
  • Ninety-Degrees North by Fergus Fleming
  • The Ice Balloon by Alec Wilkinson
  • The Man Who Ate His Boots by Anthony Brandt
  • Polar Bears: A Complete Guide to their Biology & Behavior by Andrew E. Deocher
  • Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez