Antarctica4XPlane is a 3D visualization of the Antarctic continent, for use within the flight simulator X-Plane. It features a realistically shaped terrain model covered with a plausible texture set. The landscape is complemented with dozens of virtual research stations, base camps and airfields as an image of the real counterparts. Hence, Antarctica4XPlane is not only of interest for flight simulation enthusiasts, but also as a tool for scientists, engineers and education.

A brief history

On 17th April 2015 Nino published the idea of a virtual Antarctica, searching for technical assistance. Inspired by Nino’s idea, Matthias begun to develop first terrain models, e.g. for Deception Island. In parallel, Paolo and others begun to develop virtual research stations, base camps and airfields. In December 2015 we were able to release part 1 of Antarctica4XPlane, covering the South Orkney Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. Followed in June 2016 by the release of part 2 of Antarctica4XPlane, covering Victoria Land and the northern parts of the Transantarctic Mountains. Since then, the scenery packages received annual updates and were complemented with new content. In January 2019, part 3 of Antarctica4XPlane was released. This latest part covers Coats Land and the western parts of Queen Maud Land.

As a spin-off of Antarctica4XPlane, the development were extended to the Subantarctic. In January 2017, Marion and Prince Edward Island were released. Followed in May 2018 by the release of the second subantarctic scenery: Heard Island and McDonald Islands.

The Coverage

POLAR2018 A4XP Map

Antarctic: South Orkney Islands and Antarctic Peninsula – Victoria Land and northern parts of the Transantarctic Mountains – Coats Land and western parts of Queen Maud Land – Ellsworth Mountains and Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf [WIP]. Subantarctic: Marion Island and Prince Edward Island – Heard and McDonald Islands – South Sandwich Islands [WIP]. Add-ons: Nearly three dozens of research stations, base camps and airfields. All those X-Plane sceneries are available for download in The Sceneries-section… *)

And that’s not all: The scenery packages are complemented by Nino’s comprehensive catalog full with information about antarctic research stations and airfields as well as aircrafts, which are in use on the antarctic continent. Read more about this sub-project…

Possible Applications

As mentioned in the introductory description, Antarctica4XPlane is not only meant for flight simulation proposes. There are countless possible applications in education, engineering and science:

  • Geography lesson: Teach with a 3D visualization instead of 2D maps
  • History class: Tell students about polar pioneers by visiting the historic sites
  • Engineering: Check terrain profiles for planning and construction of runways
  • Pilot Trainings: Equip your simulator with a realistic landscape environment

These are just a few ideas of potential applications. Antarctica4XPlane can be of interest for schools as well as universities. Potential users are teachers, professors and students as well as researchers and scientists in various disciplines. Also engineers can benefit from Antarctica4XPlane.

The Antarctica4XPlane landscape is per default covered with a realistic, natural texture set. But also a false-coloring is possible to highlight outlines of particular interest, e.g. glaciers, or to represent hidden parts, like sub-glacial lakes, oil or gas reservoirs. Another idea would be to show animal and plants distribution over the surface. In short: every dataset, what is available in a digital, automatically processable form, can be used for individual presentations.

The Team

_ Matthias Seewald (AT) – geo-data processing and development of the terrain model
_ Nino Villari (IT) – initial idea of the project,  data collection and documentation
_ Paolo Grifantini (IT) – development of  the virtual research stations and airfields
_ Walter Schönbächler (CH) – development of smaller bases and promoting the project
_ Pedro van Leeuwen (NL) – data collection, scenery building, supplier of aircrafts
_ Numerous additional contributors and supporters from all over the world



*) The Antarctica4XPlane sceneries and add-ons are available as freeware. However, modification, re-distribution or reverse-engineering without the author’s permission is prohibited. The Antarctica4XPlane sceneries and add-ons are meant for personal use only, are intended for flight simulation and shall not be used for real life navigation or any other real life purposes. Please contact me, if you’re interested in a usage in commercial applications.