From its original formulation in 1990 the International Trans-Antarctic Scientific Expedition (ITASE) has had as its primary aim the collection and interpretation of a continent-wide array of environmental parameters assembled through the coordinated efforts of scientists from several nations. ITASE offers the ground-based opportunities of traditional-style traverse travel coupled with the modern technology of GPS, crevasse detecting radar, satellite communications and multidisciplinary research. By operating predominantly in the mode of an oversnow traverse, ITASE offers scientists the opportunity to experience the dynamic range of the Antarctic environment. ITASE also offers an important interactive venue for research similar to that afforded by oceanographic research vessels and large polar field camps, without the cost of the former or the lack of mobility of the latter. More importantly, the combination of disciplines represented by ITASE provides a unique, multidimensional (space and time) view of the ice sheet and its history. ITASE has now collected >20 000 km of snow radar, recovered more than 240 firn/ice cores (total length 7000 m), remotely penetrated to ∼4000 m into the ice sheet, and sampled the atmosphere to heights of >20 km.