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In Brief

Take a Trip Through the Northwest Passage on Your iPad

Northwest Passage iPad App screenshot
A screenshot of a new iPad app that takes users on an interactive journey through the fabled Northwest Passage. (Image credit: © Cameron Dueck / WWF)

The fabled Northwest Passage, running along the coast of Alaska and Arctic Canada, was sought for centuries by explorers looking for a shorter trade route between Europe and Asia. First navigated with great difficulty and in a small ship by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen between 1903 and 1906, the normally ice-choked passage first opened up because of dramatic ice melt in the summer of 2007.

Two years later, Canadian journalist and filmmaker Christopher Dueck sailed the passage on his yacht, which led to a documentary film and a book about his trip. Now, iPad and iPad mini users can interactively sail with Dueck in a new app developed in concert with the conservation group WWF.

"The book is about how life in the North is changing, both in terms of the environment and how communities live up there," Dueck said in a statement. "The new technology available today allows me to retell that story with a richness never possible before. The interactivity really makes you feel as if you’re part of the adventure."

WWF's Global Arctic Program will receive 10 percent of all sales from the app, according to a WWF press release. The app is available in the iTunes App store (opens in new tab) or at

Andrea Thompson
Andrea Thompson

Andrea Thompson is an associate editor at Scientific American, where she covers sustainability, energy and the environment. Prior to that, she was a senior writer covering climate science at Climate Central and a reporter and editor at Live Science, where she primarily covered Earth science and the environment. She holds a graduate degree in science health and environmental reporting from New York University, as well as a bachelor of science and and masters of science in atmospheric chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology.