update on our next generation ice tracker

Thanks to a lot of work by students over the past year we are on track to producing our new u-blox based trackers for Iceland this summer

Our new choice of microcontroller board running Circuitpython – it is connected to the GPS, its radio The processor is a 120MHz ARM Cortex-M4F. Basicall it has lots of ways to connect to other hardware and is pretty fast – while using very little power.
The dGPS board by Sparkfun allows us to take measurements within about 30-50s, accurate to about 2cm. They use 1/10th of the power of our previous units so our batteries can be smaller.
This is the SWARM sat-coms board by Sparkfun – allowing data communications to the web from anywhere on the planet! We will test this from a base station to shjow that the system can work anywhere and send data back to researchers daily.

DJI Zenmuse P1 camera quality test

If you zoom into JPEG images from the Zenmuse P1 camera they look “damaged” so I took a view from a stationary (on a table) Matrice300 in jpg and raw. Converted the raw simply to tiff, cropped both to look at a small area in focus:

original image (reduced from 8192×5460 for this page)
crop from raw image
crop from JPG file showing over-sharpenning and contrast enhancement

The conclusion is capture RAW only on the P1 and batch convert later. Each raw is 86MB rather than 5-7 MB (which was suspiciously compressed for such a high resolution image) so you will need 10x the SD card space/disk space.

Summary plot for rover3 2018-2019

Here are some screnshots of rover3 on Breida’ – whch we moved in Aug 2019.

So rover3 moved around 12m since we set it up in Sept 2018
and rover3 dropped around 20m in altitude – most of that is due to melting

There’s a lot of energy in a glacial outflow river!

The outflow river bed remained almost unchanged while it was monitored from Autumn 2012 to Summer 2013. However, sometime between July 2013 and July 2014, the flow became violent enough to move massive boulders, as these images from the bridge camera show.

River bed with boulders.

River on 22 May 2013.

River bed with boulders.

River on 1 August 2014.

Note the big boulder – about 1 m high – right of centre in the foreground of the earlier image, which has been swept out of shot a year or so later.