Polar Explorer App

Polar Explorer: Sea Level App©

Polar Explorer: Sea Level is a mobile application for the iPad and iPhone. Polar Explorer: Sea Level can be downloaded from the Education Category of the App StoreSM for free.

With Polar Explorer: Sea Level we invite you to learn about sea level and the various processes that control the location of the shoreline.


  • Global multi-resolution digital elevation model for land and ocean
  • Scrollable and cascading list of available topics
  • A choice of either text and audio to introduce each topic
  • Overlay of selected thematic content with adjustable opacity
  • Info button for each subject that opens a browser window with further content description, animations, data sources, credits and citations along with external links
  • Legends and also their numerical values revealed at locations tapped by your finger
  • Capture of current map to photo library for email to others
  • Automatic saving of last region viewed prior to exit from the app
  • Names of continents, oceans, seas, mountains, lakes, rivers, cities and seabed features automatically displayed according to zoom level
  • Instructions available upon startup


Wi-Fi or 3G network connection required with iOS 6.0 or more recent operating system. Recently retrieved tiles are cached to allow limited review of previously explored regions without a live connection.

Overview of Content

Polar Explorer: SeaLevel provides maps, charts, text and audio to enable the user to address these questions:

  • What is sea level?
  • Why does sea level change?
    • What is the role of the ocean?
    • What is the role of the atmosphere?
    • What about contributions from glaciers?
    • What about contributions from ice sheets?
    • What about post-glacial rebound?
  • Where is sea level changing now?
  • What about polar regions?
  • What about climate in the past?
    • What about warm periods?
    • What about cold periods?
    • What about deglaciation 20,000 to 5,000 years ago?
  • What are future predictions along the US coast?
  • Who is vulnerable?

Companion Web Page

Polar Explorer for your browser.

  • Polar Explorer Online: A browser version of the Polar Explorer App for use in class rooms and seminars:

Companion App

A companion iPad and iPhone app by Columbia University and available from the Apple App Store for $0.99.

  • Earth Observer App: an earth science exploration and visualization mobile app that provides access to a vast array of earth, ocean, atmosphere, environmental and population data sets:

Companion Applications

Free companion applications from Columbia University that run on Windows, Unix/Linux and Mac OS X and provide additional content and tools for interactive analysis and graphing:

  • GeoMapApp: an earth science exploration and visualization application that provides access to thousands of data sets, options for importing your own data, and analytical capabilities.
  • Virtual Ocean: integrates the GeoMapApp tool suite with 3-D earth browser technology to create a powerful new platform for interdisciplinary research and education.


The development of the Polar Explorer: Sea Level App has been funded by the the National Science Foundation under Cooperative Agreement No. DUE-1239783.

Apple, the Apple logo and iTunes are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. iPad is a trademark of Apple Inc. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.

Offered by the Polar Explorer team at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University