Shackleton's expedition, Endurance, Antarctica

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Shackleton's expedition, Endurance, Antarctica pm77 10/9/05 10:02 AM

"For scientific leadership, give me Scott, for swift and efficient travel, Amundsen. But when you are in a hopeless situation, when you are seeing no way out, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton. Incomparable in adversity, he was the miracle worker who would save your life against all the odds and long after your number was up. The greatest leader that ever came on God's earth, bar none."

Sir Raymond Priestley
Member of the Nimrod expedition 1907-1909

"Sir Ernest Shackleton was one of the last great heroes of the Golden Age of Polar Exploration, ranking with contemporaries such as Roald Amundsen, Robert Falcon Scott and Fridtjof Nansen and, in many respects, surpassing them.

Following the heroic failure and death of Scott on the Ross Ice Shelf, and the discovery of the South Pole by Amundsen, Shackleton's star seemed to be eclipsed. The last great adventure left in the South was the crossing of the continent of Antarctica. Shackleton formed the Trans-Antarctic Expedition in 1914, and his ship, Endurance, left Britain just as the Great War broke out in Europe.

Unusually heavy pack ice prevented them gaining a foothold on Antarctica and they were forced to endure the Southern winter trapped in the pack-ice. At last, after 10 months, the ship was crushed by the relentless pressure of the ice, and Shackleton and his crew were forced to abandon her and to make their escape from the ice on foot, ice-floe and open boat to the nearest attainable land and the possibility of rescue.

Piero's post tells the story of their entrapment and eventual escape, a tale of courage, determination, sacrifice, and Endurance. I hope it will inspire you to find out more about the life and achievements of this remarkable man."

Frank McVey, Rutland, 16th Oct 2005

Some informations about the post

Due to the large number of objects (61 folders with 486 placemarks, 12 paths, 17 overlays, 43 labels) the initial setting of this post disables some folders to avoid a confused view.

Trans-Antarctica Expedition 1914-1917
Informations about Shackleton, crew, expedition, Antarctica, ebooks, recommended books, dvd's and so on.

Boats (enabled)
Endurance, James Caird, Dudley Docker, Stancomb Wills, Yelcho.
Informations and placemarks on shipyards.

Shackleton planned route (disabled)
Some placemarks and a path based on a 1916 newspaper.

Shackleton route (enabled)
The complete journey based on "South" map and informations. Text and images from Shackleton's book in placemarks.

Worsley's log (disabled)
The open boat journey from Elephant Island to South Georgia, placemarks on Worsley observed positions.

Rescue journeys (disabled)
Five subfolders, one for every relief attempt. Enable them one at time.

David Roberts images (disabled)
A collections of photographs of South Georgia and Elephant Island.

Expedition named landmarks (disabled)
Three subfolders, placemarks on landmarks named after Shackleton, crew, Endurance and sponsors.

Island Placemarks (disabled)
Four subfolders: South Georgia, South Sandwich, Elephant Island group, South Orkney Islands.

Shackleton map (enabled)
Features from "South" map. Placemarks of previous expeditions, soundings, map annotation text.

Overlays (2 overlays disabled out of 12)
See "Read me first" in "Overlays" folder if you need informations about transparency setting. You may disable all overlays and enable them one at time to better see their position and draw order.
Three subfolders, South Georgia, Elephant Island, Elephant Island Group.

Ross Sea Party (disabled)
Six main subfolders: The Aurora, Laying the depots, Relief expedition, Placemarks, Overlays, Antarctic stations.

Acknowledgments are due to...
Re: Shackleton's expedition, Endurance, Antarctica Frank_McVey 10/9/05 2:14 PM
Well, PM77, you beat me to it! Nice job as well - love the placemarks.

I was inspired by NormB's post on the Scott/Amundsen expeditions to do the same for Shackleton's Trans-Antarctic Expedition, and have been working on it for the last week or so.

I've done a fair bit of coding in the placemarks, (most of which duplicate yours, and probably for the same reason - the book gives a good lat/long at these locations ) so that when you click on a placemark it gives an appropriate blockquote from "South", an image or two in the balloon, and a link to the same eBook to which you refer.

Your overlay of Elephant Island is better than mine - I saw that same satellite image, but rejected it in favour of a rather scruffy map. However, I think my overlay of S Georgia may be better in some respects, since it also shows the difficult overland route from Peggotty Camp to Stromeness, Shackleton's last great obstacle. It isn't so nicely "tailored" as yours, though.

Another respect in which your post scores is in the nice red line joining the placemarks. I've been researching that aspect. Did you use EarthPaint or something similar?

Rather than see my work going to waste, I'd be happy to email you the coding that I've used in the placemarks, if you'd like to have it. All the images I've used are remote images, so it would be a simple cut-and-paste into each placemark. I think it would help make an excellent post into an outstanding "multimedia" one, if that doesn't sound too conceited

Again, thanks for a great post, and certainly worth five stars. Best I go and find a new project! But first, a couple of consolation beers...

Best Regards

Re: Shackleton's expedition, Endurance, Antarctica Chief_Sparky 10/10/05 12:32 AM
It's an absolutely excellent post! I've been collecting the best and brightest examples on the BBS, and making sure that they get loaded into my kids' PC's on their copies of GE.

Frank, here's your consolation prize. I'm having a very cold one right this very minute, and am dedicating it to your misery. (Yes, I'm a heathen and am not drinking it warm)

Re: Shackleton's expedition, Endurance, Antarctica pm77 10/10/05 10:45 AM
Hallo Frank,

first of all i'm sorry for this situation. Thanks for your offer to improve this post with your code, i accept it, you will receive my email in a private message.
About the red line, i simply used Plus version of Google Earth. It worth its price, you can see a Google Earth comparison chart here.

With Plus version you can draw and edit lines and polygons. Extruding polygons you can create 3D buildings. I tried this feature in this post about a wonderful town that i visited some year ago:

Shibam, Wadi Hadramaut, Yemen, overlay and 3D

Again thanks, and arrivederci.
Re: Shackleton's expedition, Endurance, Antarctica Normb 10/10/05 10:33 PM
Refer to this Post....

Just on our local TV.....

Sir Edmond Hillary is in the UK now trying to raise funds and Government support to repair the huts of Robert Falcon Scott & Ernest Shackleton in Antactica. Sir Ed was in Antarctica in November last year and was dismayed at the state of both huts.. So hopfully he can gain enough support to restore them to a respectable condition.
Norm - Christchurch (Under repair - Central city closed :-( - New Zealand.
Re: Shackleton's expedition, Endurance, Antarctica Frank_McVey 10/11/05 6:11 PM
Hi, Piero.

Thank you for your gracious acceptance of my offer. Sir Ernest is one of my personal heroes and it would mean a lot to me to be a part of your wonderful post.

Your post has quite a few more placemarks than mine did, so, with your permission, I have coded up these additional placemarks as well. I think that it's a good thing, because it gives us a chance to show some more of the superb pioneering photography of Frank Hurley.

I'll be in touch tomorrow.

Best regards

Re: Shackleton's expedition, Endurance, Antarctica pm77 10/17/05 4:03 PM
An updated version of this post is now available.

All placemarks on Shackleton route embed text from 'South', and most of them also one or two images taken by Frank Hurley, the expedition photographer. New placemarks were added, mostly from Elephant Island to the end of the adventure in Stromness. South Georgia overlay was changed, links to Quick time 360° panoramas, Thomas Orde-Lees diary, and other resources added....

Re: Shackleton's expedition, Endurance, Antarctica Frank_McVey 10/17/05 6:07 PM
Piero, what an outstanding post this really is. At every step of the journey, you give us the situation, the images, the references and, most importantly, the feeling of what these brave men endured for so long.

It has been a real pleasure for me to work with you, even in a small way, on this post. Sir Ernest Shackleton is my Hero - I was lucky enough to travel to South Georgia during my tour in the Falkland Islands - and I think your post has paid a great deal of respect to a man whose achievements are largely forgotten.

Roald Amundsen, the first man to reach the South Pole, said of Shackleton: "Sir Ernest Shackleton's name will for evermore be engraved with letters of fire in the history of Antarctic exploration." And it is for sure that Shackleton showed him the way to the Pole.

However, the later voyage of the Endurance, told in your post, tells an even greater tale of the courage and spirit of Man in adversity. It is easy to be a winner when everything goes your way; but to be a winner when everything has conspired against you, must surely be an inspiration to all of us.

Thank you, most sincerely.

Re: Shackleton's expedition, Endurance, Antarctica pm77 10/27/05 12:31 PM
KMZ Version 1.1 - Updated 27 october 2005


- Worsley'log placemarks for open boat journey (black "W" over British flag) and path (yellow)
- Cape Wild overlay (Elephant Island)
- Placemarks: Cape Demidov (South Georgia), Cape Belsham, Point Lookout, Endurance Glacier (Elephant Island), Cornwallis Island (east of Elephant)
- Links: Alfred Lansing "ENDURANCE, Shackleton's Incredible Voyage" (ebook), Scott Polar Research Institute - Virtual Shackleton


- Shackleton approach path to South Georgia (red) with new placemark (9 may)
- Elephant Island overlay placement and placemarks position
- South Shethand and Cape Valentine overlay placement
Re: Shackleton's expedition, Endurance, Antarctica Frank_McVey 10/27/05 5:03 PM

Thanks for the additions. This is probably one of the most comprehensive and informative posts I have seen in GE. I look forward to the tale of the Rescue.

Best Regards

Re: Shackleton's expedition, Endurance, Antarctica bebop 10/28/05 5:25 AM
Hi pm77

This is a real outstanding post.
As Chief Sparky said above, it's one of the best examples of what GE users can offer to us: informative and educational contents about a Man who left his mark in History.

Thank you, pm77. And thank you Frank.

Re: Shackleton's expedition, Endurance, Antarctica Ian_Johnson 10/28/05 6:09 PM
To me, this post shows the very best that GE is capable of. There is a mine of information at every placemark, and PM77 allows the story to unfold in the words and pictures of the men who lived through this astounding adventure.

You've obviously put a great deal of work into this, PM. It's certainly the most well-crafted post I've seen on the forum.

Thank you, and please let us have some more.

Re: Shackleton's expedition, Endurance, Antarctica pm77 10/29/05 7:25 AM
KMZ Version 1.2 - Updated 29 october 2005


- Links to extended biographical notes for each crew member, from excellent Cool Antarctica site
- Link to United States Antarctic Resource Center - detailed maps of Antarctica and much more
- Placemarks named after Ernest Shackleton (red 'ES'), overlay of an Avro Shackleton. Look at 'Shackleton named landmarks' folder description.
- A pair of placemarks on Elephant Island


Shackleton's path across South Georgia with new placemarks in that area. See "Shackleton Gap" placemark description for two very interesting links.


A large number of really amazing images of South Georgia and Elephant Island, the rescue journeys to Elephant Island.
Re: Shackleton's expedition, Endurance, Antarctica Frank_McVey 10/30/05 11:38 AM
Thanks for the latest update, Piero. This post just keeps getting better and better.


KMZ Version 2.0 - Updated 1st november 2005 pm77 10/31/05 3:43 PM
KMZ Version 2.0 - Updated 1st november 2005


In this update i post a set of delighful and interesting images courtesy of David Roberts. For the first time i saw how Cape Valentine looks, and the reason why it was quickly left appears obvious in David's images.
To prevent these major placemarks to be hidden among many other, i grouped them together in a separate folder.
'David Roberts images' content is chronologically arranged from Grytviken to Stromness, whenever possible a comprehensive description from 'South' is included.
For a better vision set View - Full Screen in menu bar or press F11.

Re: Shackleton's expedition, Endurance, Antarctica beno 10/31/05 3:56 PM

What a brilliant set of placemarks.

Re: Shackleton's expedition, Endurance, Antarctica firefysh 11/1/05 2:08 AM
The base for Shackelton's 1907 - 1909 'Nimrod' expedition.It was from this base that he plotted a route up to the Antarctic Plateau ready for Scott's ill-fated attempt at reaching the pole in the 1910 - 1913 'Terra Nova' Expedition. This hut is once again well preserved
A positive attitude may not solve your problems, but the number of people it will annoy makes it worth while.
KMZ Version 3.0 - Updated 3rd november 2005 pm77 11/3/05 12:45 PM
KMZ Version 3.0 - Updated 3rd november 2005


This update tells the epilogue of the adventure: the rescue of three man waiting in Peggotty Camp and four Shackleton's attempts to pick up the other crew members waiting in Elephant Island. This part of the post, placemarks, labels and path, is located in 'Rescue journeys' folder.
Museo Nazionale dell'Antartide - Trieste - Italy pm77 11/6/05 1:49 PM
Se abitate o vi trovate in zona e siete interessati all'argomento, visitate il Museo Nazionale dell'Antartide di Trieste.

Arrivando da Udine/Venezia proseguite oltre la barriera autostradale di Sistiana e uscite a Prosecco, seguendo le indicazioni per il centro città. Dopo 4 km, alla prima rotatoria con semaforo, girate a destra e imboccate la strada panoramica in discesa. Arrivati a un bivio tenetevi a destra (qui inizia il percorso in giallo nel placemark), dopo poco più di un km, prima di una marcata curva a sinistra, dovete prendere una laterale, sempre a sinistra, passando sotto un arco in muratura poco visibile.

Nel placemark trovate il link al sito del museo, con informazioni dettagliate e orari di apertura.

Re: KMZ Version 3.0 - Updated 3rd november 2005 Frank_McVey 11/7/05 5:56 PM

Again, congratulations on your additions of the rescue attempts, and on David Robert's wonderful photographs.

A truly inspiring series of posts, and an outstanding example of how GE can bring an immediacy to a tale like this.

I look forward to the day when we can attach video clips to placemarks: Frank Hurley (the expedition photographer) was a pioneer in this respect, and his breathtaking footage of the Endurance's outbound journey, and her eventual sinking would be a haunting addition to your post.

Best Regards,

Re: Shackleton's expedition, Endurance, Antarctica Frank4 11/14/05 9:25 AM
I have published a story about this excellent Shackleton "documentary" for Google Earth at the Google Earth Blog.

You can read the story here.

Here's a screenshot I used for the story:

Frank Taylor - Author of Google Earth Blog
All about Google Earth news, features, tips, technologies, and applications. Also read:
(If you have story ideas, please send me a private message.)
Re: Shackleton's expedition, Endurance, Antarctica Frank_McVey 11/14/05 6:15 PM
Hi, Frank,

Thank you for highlighting Piero's post in your Blog. I think that it's a great example of what GE is capable, and I also feel that it's been largely overlooked, maybe because of its very specialist nature. You used the term "documentary", and that is perhaps the best way to describe his work - it tells a story, in stages, largely using the words and pictures of the men who were there, supplemented by some beautiful modern photography, with hindsight.

Disregarding the quality of the post as a narrative on its own merit, I think you're right in highlighting it as a model of the type of educational resource for which GE has the potential. I hope we see many more comprehensive and thought-provoking posts like this, perhaps using similar techniques to Piero's. Purblind_Horus, has used the same idea of placing information content in his placemarks in his War Casualties in Iraq post; it gives great immediacy and - to me, at least, it has a very moving - and shocking - effect. I've been privileged to visit some of the Great War cemeteries in France, and Sean's post strongly reminds of the impression they made.

Thanks again,

KMZ Version 3.1 - Updated 24th november 2005 pm77 11/24/05 10:43 AM
KMZ Version 3.1 - Updated 24th november 2005


Links in the first placemark:
  • New excellent crew biographical notes
  • The Endurance dogs
  • Antarctic Circle website
  • HMS Endurance tracking project
  • "Men wanted for hazardous journey...." About the famous advertisement
  • 'Boats' folder: informations, placemarks and images of Endurance, James Caird, Dudley Docker, Stancomb Wills, Yelcho
  • Daily placemarks for the very hard 7 - 15 april 1916 period
  • Link in Elephant placemark
  • Two animations showing ice crushing Endurance in placemark 27 Oct 1915
  • Many minor changes and corrections
KMZ updated, 5 march 2006 pm77 3/5/06 5:59 AM
Read description in main page.

Elephant Island overlay, courtesy of the 'Royal Geographical Society'

Re: Shackleton's expedition, Endurance, Antarctica Grant25 3/5/06 7:44 AM
This is fantastic!!
My Dad is a Shackleton junkie, we saw the exhibition in Dublin last year. He is on a cruise to Antartica as we type. Can't wait to show him this. Thanks again, Grant
Re: Shackleton's expedition, Endurance, Antarctica PatrickSalsbury 3/10/06 4:51 PM
Just discovered this as I was cruising over Antarctica. Outstanding! I saw the movie a couple years ago about the Endurance expedition, and it certainly is the definition of "having a bad time" by which everything else pales. (So when you hear someone whining about something minor, point them to what these folks went through! )

Thanks for putting together such a fantastic collection, and for helping to put it all into better perspective! :-)
Re: Shackleton's expedition, Endurance, Antarctica Anonymous 3/10/06 6:07 PM
Remarkable post
Sir Raymond Priestley
made his history
KMZ updated, 11 march 2006 pm77 3/11/06 7:35 AM
The overlays based on "South" drawings were improved with better images and placement accuracy. One more was added, the following plan of the few square feet camp in Cave Cove, South Georgia.

Updated, 24 march 2006 pm77 3/24/06 1:14 PM

I NOW turn to the fortunes and misfortunes of the Ross Sea party and the Aurora. In spite of extraordinary difficulties occasioned by the breaking out of the Aurora from her winter quarters before sufficient stores and equipment had been landed, Captain Æneas Mackintosh and the party under his command achieved the object of this side of the Expedition. For the depot that was the main object of the Expedition was laid in the spot that I had indicated, and if the transcontinental party had been fortunate enough to have crossed they would have found the assistance, in the shape of stores, that would have been vital to the success of their undertaking. Owing to the dearth of stores, clothing, and sledging equipment, the depot party was forced to travel more slowly and with greater difficulty than would have otherwise been the case. The result was that in making this journey the greatest qualities of endurance, self-sacrifice, and patience were called for, and the call was not in vain, as you reading the following pages will realize.

It is more than regrettable that after having gone through those many months of hardship and toil Mackintosh and Hayward should have been lost. Spencer-Smith during those long days, dragged by his comrades on the sledge, suffering but never complaining, became an example to all men. Mackintosh and Hayward owed their lives on that journey to the unremitting care and strenuous endeavours of Joyce, Wild, and Richards, who, also scurvy-stricken but fitter than their comrades, dragged them through the deep snow and blizzards on the sledges.

I think that no more remarkable story of human endeavour has been revealed than the tale of that long march which I have collated from various diaries. Unfortunately, the diary of the leader of this side of the Expedition was lost with him. The outstanding feature of the Ross Sea side was the journey made by these six men. The earlier journeys for the first year did not produce any sign of the qualities of leadership amongst the others. Mackintosh was fortunate for the long journey in that he had these three men with him—Ernest Wild, Richards, and Joyce.

Sir Ernest Shackleton

Updated, 17 april 2006 pm77 4/17/06 12:50 AM
I post three new overlays and some updates in the Ross Sea party folder. Now the geographical features between Ross Island and Beardmore Glacier are better visible.

Maps courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey

Could Sir E. Shackleton have crossed Antarctica? pm77 4/30/06 11:30 AM
Could Sir Ernest Shackleton have crossed the Antarctic Continent?

You can try to get an opinion with the help of this post, the problem can be better understood reading the story of the Ross Sea party in the main post.
Hi res insets of South Georgia Is. stiuskr 6/10/06 4:21 PM
What an amazing thread, excellant job pm77. And GE just made it better. The middle swath of So Georgia is now covered with hi-res insets. Visible now is the Stromness Bay whaing station and yes, the gravesite at the Grytviken Whalers' Cemetery. And ironically, now you can see a supply ship berthed at the King Edward Point Antactic Polar Station.
"And sometimes is seen a strange spot in the sky A human being that was given to fly"....Eddie Vedder
Updated, 11 june 2006 pm77 6/11/06 8:01 AM
Thank you for the info, i updated the placemarks and paths in the high resolution area of South Georgia.
Re: Shackleton's expedition, Endurance, Antarctica lyndafold 7/24/06 1:23 PM
Can you please advise if Stromness whaling station is still operational. I read your message and have only just subscribed to this so i do not fully understand your request. regards
Re: Shackleton's expedition, Endurance, Antarctica pm77 8/6/06 1:29 AM
Hi Lynda,
sorry, but i couldn't answer before. You can find informations and images about South Georgia whaling stations here:

None of the whaling stations is still operational, Stromness closed in 1961, Leith Harbour, the last one, in 1965.
Re: Shackleton's expedition, Endurance, Antarctica cannibal_club 11/7/06 12:42 PM
I just stumbled across this... IT IS GREAT. Are there other similar projects out there?

All the best.

Honour, Not Honours
Re: Shackleton's expedition, Endurance, Antarctica beno 11/7/06 1:03 PM

Are there other similar projects out there?

Hi cannibal_club

First, welcome to Google Earth.

In terms of your question - YES - there are loads of great threads, here are a few for you to explore...

All the best

PS and this one
Fabulous post! Diane9247 1/29/07 11:09 PM
pm77 -
This is a great contribution, thanks for all your work. Efforts like yours make GE even more exciting than it already is!

Re: Shackleton's expedition, Endurance, Antarctica Noisette 11/24/07 4:18 AM
If you are having problems opening this file, please follow the discussion in this thread.
How to - create a placemark, add it to your post, add images, add paragraphs to placemarks, use folders
Useful links and help for common problems with Google Earth
My Placemarks

Re: Shackleton's expedition, Endurance, Antarctica rodm67 1/17/09 4:48 AM

I´ve just arrived at BBS and this is worth enough already.

Congratulations for all the work around it.

Rio de Janeiro