Our map updates comprise lots of work out in the field – walking trails with GPS, updating photos, working with Parks Canada and local businesses to ensure accuracy, and fact checking everything from campground facilities to trail elevation gains. For the new edition of our Columbia Icefield Map we did all of this, but also incorporated imagery from space to accurately show current glacial extents. The work was done by Jasper cartographer Michael Mitchell, who overlaid a satellite photo of the Columbia Icefield over the Gem Trek coloured base layer.

The first edition of the Columbia Icefield Map was published in 1995, which was before our time with Gem Trek, so we are not sure exactly how and when the glacial extents from previous editions were sourced, but assume it was around 30 years ago. For the image below, we marked glacial extents from previous editions with red lines and placed this layer on top of the updated Columbia Icefield Map. In doing so, it is very clear how drastic recession has been. Note especially the Saskatchewan Glacier (lower left-centre).

columbia icefield glacial extents