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Looking at different world maps, I noticed that there is considerable variety in how the coastline of Antarctica is depicted (even when taking the different map projections into consideration).

Are these discrepancies caused by the fact that the coastline of Antarctica has not been precisely mapped because the ice sheet obscures it in satellite and aerial photography? Do we have the technology to look through the ice sheet and locate the bedrock and has it been used on every part of Antarctica's coastline, or does map data still contain some guess work and interpolation?

Or are there perhaps competing ideas about how a coastline covered in ice should be outlined on a map? I noticed e.g. that Google Maps displays Berkner Island while Wikipedia claims that the island's bedrock is completely below sea-level.


Examples: Google Maps has a very different outline for the islands under the Filchner-Ronne ice shelf than other sources:

Google Maps

example 1: from Google Maps

Other Map

example 2: from an example using the D3-Geo-Projection code library (not sure where the dataset is from)

from Wikipedia's Antarctica article

example 3: from Wikipedia's Antarctica article (similar to example 2, but using a very different projection)

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What you are seeing is mostly different projections. Look at the last two images. The penultimate image has latitude lines that are straight and parallel to one another, longitude lines that are straight and parallel to one another, and the latitude and longitude are orthogonal to one another. The latitude lines are curved in the last image. The longitude lines, which aren't shown in the latter image, would not be parallel in this protection.

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    $\begingroup$ Please read the question before answering. I'm not talking about the differences in map projection. $\endgroup$ – user21059 Sep 10 at 21:12

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