This guide is for those who wish to participate in Ice Watch by performing visual sea ice observations while at sea and contributing data to the IceWatch or ASPeCt archive. Ice Watch collates sea ice observations collected in the Northern Hemisphere, whereas ASPeCt coordinates similar data collection in the Southern Ocean. Should you submit Southern Ocean data to Ice Watch we will work with you to provide your data to the ASPeCt archive.


When you are preparing to go to sea, download, install, and launch the ASSIST software to record sea ice observations. An internet connection is required.

Check that software installs and launches on your computer before you leave port.


To participate in Ice Watch data collection please first register for an Ice Watch account. When you open an account the Ice Watch team will be informed, and they may contact you to identify your interests and what kind of account you require. If it is determined you will be contributing data we will enable your account to do so. Please send an email when you register your account to confirm we received the registration information.


You can register your cruise at any time. Registering prior to departure will alert the Ice Watch team to your participation so we can assist you better. You must register the cruise to in order to upload data. After you are registered for an account, log in to Icewatch and register your cruise with a link on the left-hand side bar. This will create a data base entry for your cruise and you will see your cruise listed on the left hand side bar.

If the cruise metadata changes between registering the cruise and completing the cruise (for example, the cruise dates change), please send an email to the Ice Watch team and we will help you correct it.

Perform your observations & back-up your data

Instructions and protocols for performing an ice watch while at sea can be found in the manual.


When at sea, back up your ASSIST cruise data daily!

Ideas for backup: Copy the sqlite3 database you created with ASSIST to a thumbdrive or another computer daily. You can find the sqlite database in the directory you ran the ASSIST launcher from. Routinely export the all observations to csv from ASSIST and store them on another computer. Email the Ice Watch team if you need assistance.

Email Ice Watch Team your data

If you would like your data posted in near-real time while you are at sea, you can email your data to the Ice Watch team. Send daily or weekly CSV files exported from ASSIST.

Upload final cruise data to Ice Watch Archive

After recording observations and return to port, upload your cruise entry in Ice Watch. Click on the cruise entry on the left-hand side bar menu. This will direct you to a page with an option to "Upload Observation CSV". Your uploaded data can be quality controlled exactly as you do with the ASSIST software. You can perform a final edit on the observation data in Ice Watch before you accept as final the observation suite.