Italian Limes
Mapping the shifting border across Italy’s glaciers

An Archipelago of Glaciers

The international border between Italy and its adjacent countries traverses snowfields and perennial ice sheets at high altitudes, mostly following the path of the Alpine watershed line.

Movable Borders

Due to global warming and shrinking glaciers, a considerable shift of the glacial watershed has been detected—and accordingly of the coinciding national borders. A new definition of “moving border” has thus been introduced by the Italian Parliament into national legislation.

Real-time Mapping

In order to track the movement of the Austrian–Italian border, a grid of 25 solar-powered sensors has been installed on the surface of a glacier at the foot of Mt. Similaun. Once every 2 hours the sensors record position data, allowing for the automated mapping of the line.