[en] The FUV imagers on board the IMAGE satellite provide multispectral snapshots of the polar region every 2 min. The combination of the Wide-Angle Imaging Camera (WIC) with SI12 (Doppler shifted Lyman-alpha) and SI13 (135.6 nm) spectral imagers is used to discriminate between the electron and the proton aurora. We describe a statistical study of the location of 78 substorms observed close to the 2000-2001 winter solstice. The latitudinal distribution of the onsets observed with WIC is asymmetric with a median at 65.6° MLAT and a full width at half maximum (FWHM) of 3.5°. Their local time distribution is concentrated between 2000 and 0200 MLT with a median at 23.4 +/- 0.3 hours MLT and a FWHM of 1.8 hours. No statistically significant difference is found in the spatial distribution of the proton and electron onsets. All onsets take place within a region of preexisting proton precipitation, indicating that substorm initiation occurs in regions of stretched but dipole-like field lines that cross the equatorial plane close to the Earth. Latitudes of substorm onsets are located at a variable distance from the poleward FUV auroral boundary but remain at a nearly constant distance from the equatorward limit of both proton and electron auroral ovals. The magnetic latitudes of the onsets are correlated with some of the solar wind plasma properties measured by the ACE satellite prior to the substorm breakup. In particular, a clear anticorrelation is found between the onset MLAT and the 1-hour averaged solar wind dynamic pressure. A decrease of the onset latitude is also observed for larger B intensity values. No dependence of the onset MLT on the solar wind speed is observed, in contrast to the relationship expected from the thermal catastrophe model for substorm initiation. Our results are in agreement with models locating the initial instability in the near magnetosphere such as the near-Earth current disruption models.