What is Svalbox?

Svalbox is our effort to systematically digitize Svalbard’s excellent outcrops and make these freely available to the geoscience community. In addition, we integrate our data with other geoscientific data from Svalbard, making Svalbox an excellent platform for education, outreach and research.

We do not develop any software and use off-the-shelf software and hardware tools. Our motto is that there are so many excellent tools on the market so we rather focus on acquiring, integrating and visualising the data sets. 

Svalbox is a UNIS-led project that started in 2016 and will continue indefinitely. 

An introduction to Svalbox is provided in a webinar given to SedsOnline.

One of the central elements of Svalbox is that is geographically restricted to the Svalbox archipelago (and its immediate surroundings). The technical background, however, is easily applicable elsewhere. The other central element is that we need Svalbox to allow year-round geological education at UNIS. Why? Because almost half the year Svalbard is dark and only a short summer field season facilitates studying the exposures with snow-free conditions. 

Seasonal control on field activities in Svalbard, as outlined by

Obviously we learn a lot along the way. Both from our own work, our students’ work and within our collaborator network. To share some of these experiences and facilitate the re-creation of the Svalbox concept for areas elsewhere we openly share workflows, teaching material and critical resources – if it works well for us, it may work well for the community!


Senger, K. et al., 2021, Using digital outcrops to make the high Arctic more accessible through the Svalbox database: Journal of Geoscience Education, v. 69, p. 123–137, http://doi.org/10.1080/10899995.2020.1813865.

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