New BGAN: Marc Cornelissen's Greenland report

Posted: May 30, 2006 03:36 pm EDT

(ThePoles.com/HumanedgeTech.com) Recently, at ExWeb, we wrote about the new BGAN Satellite units: Faster, lighter, cheaper, and recently approved for North and South America. "With a new satellite planned also over the Pacific, the system will soon cover the entire globe, except for deepest polar areas," we said - since the BGAN coverage map shows the northern half of Greenland out of reach. But Dutch polar researcher Marc Cornelissen recently contacted ExplorersWeb with great news.<cutoff>

<b>Unique potential for the polar world</b>

"We used the new BGAN as launching customers from the Greenland Ice cap, as part of our Climate Change College project," Mark said. "We did live video feeds and even live TV from the ice cap. We had excellent network coverage at 70N. This tool is opening up unique potential for the polar world it would be interesting to see how far we can push it."

<b>Well above standard Greenland crossing route</b>

Most Greenland crossings are done between Isortoq and Kangerlussuaq and Marc was using the BGAN way north of that route. The Inmarsat map actually shows the footprint to extend even north of Marc's position.

<b>How dit it work out?</b>

ExWeb sent some short questions out to Marc to check how the new BGAN works on the field:

<i><b>ExWeb:</b> You say 70N worked fine. What long where you on? </i>

<b>Marc: </b> 69 50.921 N / 47 15.804 W 200 km out of Ilulissat.

<i><b>ExWeb:</b> As a user - did you find it hard or easy to setup? </i>

<b>Marc: </b> Extremely easy. Install software, turn on unit, request IP connection and of you go.

<i><b>ExWeb:</b> Any negative feedback? </i>

<b>Marc: </b> Some software (like an ftp application) can get slow.

<i><b>ExWeb:</b> What kind of phone where you using to the BGAN - how was the quality? </i>

<b>Marc: </b> We used an ISDN handset from Nera. The sound quality was brilliant, especially compared to Iridium.

<i><b>ExWeb:</b> When you sent video did you connect the camera through the computer or direct to the BGAN? </i>

<b>Marc: </b> We used a laptop (dual boot MacBook Pro) to convert a video signal into real time Windows Media stream.

<i><b>ExWeb:</b> Did you do a normal video transfer as a FTP or email attachment or did you stream? </i>

<b>Marc: </b> We did stream mostly - straight from the camera or using the camera as a player to broadcast pre-recorded stuff.

<i><b>ExWeb:</b> How did you power it? </i>

<b>Marc: </b> We had several original Batteries for the computer and modem and as back up systems: 12 V Lithium Batteries convertible to 220 V and a small generator. We used battery packs from Expedition Battery (US), great stuff.

<i> The new BGAN satellite units are incredibly lightweight, much faster than earlier GANs' and the price is unreal compared to the former system. It's a big upgrade: The new babies cost 5 times less, at five times the speed and only one fifth of the previous weight.

By mid May this year Inmarsat finally got FCC approval for the BGAN satellite unit in North and South America; the system has been running perfect under test mode in April.

In stock now, the three models ranging from $2095 to $3295 are all ready to ship. Check HumanEdgeTech for further information on the satellites and purchasing conditions.

Ben & Jerry's Climate Change College" is a project aimed to turn young adults into climate change campaigners. The kids undergo intensive training before traveling to the Arctic, to help scientists collect data.

In the first stage of the project, a group of students led by Marc Cornelissen collaborated with ESA's CryoSat-2 mission on the Greenland Ice Cap. The experiment measures the thickness of ithe ice on both land and sea very precisely, in order to provide conclusive proof as to whether there is a trend towards diminishing polar ice cover, and thus a relationship between ice and global climate.

Marc and the students camped on the ice during the first days of May, 2006 at point T05 on the EGIG (Expédition Glaciologique Internationale Groenland) line.

Cornelissen has already been involved in CryoSat validation work, when last year, during his Pole Track 2005 expedition he collected a set of snow depth measurements following a protocol that had been developed with ESA. The expedition's original goal was to reach the North Pole, but logistic problems forced the team to abort after some days on the ice. </i>

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Explorers upload multimedia at 400kb/s from the new BGAN terminals. Image showing polar veteran Marc Cornelissen using BGAN in Greenland. (Image courtesy M. Cornelissen)
"This tool is opening up unique potential for the polar world," Marc said. The new BGAN Satellite units are faster, lighter, cheaper, and covers beyond the "normal" Greenland route. Image of confirmed footprint (click to enlarge).
A group of students led by Marc Cornelissen recently collaborated with ESAs CryoSat-2 mission on the Greenland Ice Cap. All images courtesy of Ben & Jerrys Climate Change College (click to enlarge).
Marc was using high-end unit Hughes 9201.

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