2023 next generation ice trackers installed

first we installed a new base station closer to the breidamerkurjokull glacier – which had retreated a lot! The new base uses GPRS to send rover data directly to our server.

then installed rover19 at 100m altitude on the glacier

carrying the Fjalls rover20 up to the glacier

new rover20 on Fjalls

We did our first tracker placement using the large UAV (Matrice 300) about 1km away on Breida at an altitude of 130m. We used a camera+release mechanism which gave us a down-looking feed to place it precicely in a safe area (which we can walk to). This tracker 21 has a smaller GPS and radio antenna and a light-weight “quadpod”.

Fjallsjokull timelapse camera 2022

We installed a Browning HP4 camera on the Fjalls base station pole to test it as a way of getting a long sequence of timelapse images. It has their solar panel fitted (small one half way up) – and is filled with lithium AA batteries.

The camera will take a couple of photos after sunrise and before sunset – it is very restrictive on timelapse unlike the Brinno cameras.

older camera left in summer 2021 looking at the Fjalls lake from near the footpath

Fjallsarlon time-lapse camera

To see if a time-lapse camera would be useful in measuing rough lake depth changes we installed a Brinno again in 2022. It is set to take one photo every day at noon.

2022 Brinno TCC200 camera looking out across the lake (including measured rocks).

Swarm pico-sat coms tests

We have been doing more tests on the Swarm pico-sat coms with a view to using their system in Iceland.

This graph shows the temperature measurements during 6 days – showing the solar panel charging. On average the modem used 52mA but the battery was providing more like 120mA due to the LEDs and feather board.

Swarm Sat-coms test over a week showing currents
The pass predictor showing the optimum periods for communcation

our first swarm.space network test

Swarm have a system of tiny satellites (11x11x2.8cm) for low data rate communications anywhere on earth. This enables lower cost data access to very remote places.

The Swarm dev kit – the actual unit is the silver rectangular block

In my first test I received my message on their Dashboard within a minute (I was not timing!)

A maximum of 192 bytes can be sent on one message – which is OK for batches of sensor readings. Their cloud (“Hive”) has a RESTful API to gather the data easily. We look forward to building an environmental sensor network test with the help of the Swarm team!

Testing Piksi Multi with the 2018 fimware

In preparation for deploying more systems in Iceland this summer – I updated our spare Piksi Multis and did a garden test. It performed very well!

I set them up to fix at 10Hz but report every 5 readings – so its closer to our slow system in Iceland. The fix hopped around within about 1.5cm – which is good for my garden as the sky box is not that wide.

Fjallsjokull system deployed

Today we set up two dGPS units to measure the speed of some of Fjallsjökull glacier. We chose an area of ice which is clearly moving forward towards the lake.

Here is the dGPS system setup on Fjallsjokull, with Jane Hart and Frey

The photo above shows a “quadpod” supporting the GPS units – which are an adaptation of those made by Matthew Roberts of the Icelandic met-office. The idea is to be strong enough to cope with winter and cast few shadows (which cause ice to grow). The system is currently measuring its position every 3hrs to an accuracy of about 2cm – using signals from the base station to help it.

the dGPS base station installed on a moraine close to the Fjallsjokull glacier. We used speaker stands burried in rocks to support the GPS antenna (top) and hold its 2.4GHz radio antenna (white stick). Shortly after this photo I accidentally kicked sand into the laptop keyboard – so it was not so easy to use after that!

View of Fjallsjokull with our deployement being almost in the middle of this photo.

ublox m8 tests

Local tests – mainly to debug the python code – of the ublox M8P have produced fast fixes today.

this is over about 30mins in my garden – using about 15 sats.