Remote Environmental Monitoring in the Canadian Arctic (Peregrine Diamonds, Chidliak Project)
The Baffin Island Intelligent Monitoring Project was a research initiative focused on the development of intelligent remote environmental monitoring technology designed to work in extreme weather during sustained periods of darkness. The technology being used was first tested in 2009 and has been in use by Peregrine Diamonds Limited since 2010. The research initiative has since moved to an ongoing operations and long term data service contract, including real-time reports of operations meteorological data through SymSite using the Iridium Satellite network.
The Chidliak project is situated on Baffin Island, Nunavut Canada. The project is currently in the bulk sampling stage and several exploration camps have been set up in the area. A need was identified to monitor and log environmental conditions at the site and Symboticware was charged with the position of creating a reliable, robust, and easy to use system. The solution involved SymBot Lite and SymSite, a web based visualization suite.
The weather station currently in operation at Peregrine’s Chidliak Discovery camp is a fully functional data collection platform, providing accurate and dependable weather data from the camp site to anywhere on the planet. An Iridium satellite modem enables the SymBot Lite unit to communicate to its home server (SymSite) any time of the day. Reports are sent once per hour and enables SymSite to collect, organize and display the data in an easy to understand format.
The data logging system has been reporting data for the past few years and is extremely important in the day to day operations at the campsite. All material and resources are brought in by helicopter or airplane. In 2013, this has been particularly troublesome due to wet ground conditions and consistent fog. It is essential for pilots to know the conditions at the site before leaving Iqaluit and heading 120 kilometres northeast to the camp site. With fog being one of the largest issues, relative humidity and rain fall data provide pilots with a rough idea if they will be able to land or not upon arrival.
Typically, Peregrine conducts exploration on the property between February and September. Weather can be extreme with temperatures dipping below -50 degrees Celsius and wind speeds at times approaching speeds of 150 km/h. The systems remain operational with solar power collected from 2 x 85 watt panels and a large collection of storage batteries. Our batteries typically remain around 13 volts, which is extremely good for a 12 VDC system.
SymSite is an application developed to receive data from various data loggers via the Iridium satellite network. SymSite can also receive data via 3G cellular coverage, or even Wi-Fi. After a user logs into SymSite, they will see a brief summary of all data collection and real time values as shown to the right.
The application also has built in charting functions that enable custom graphs to be generated and displayed on demand, right through your existing web browser.
Some examples of graphs are bellow displayed.
Additionally, the team lead at the site prints reports from the SymSite application, usually on a weekly basis so that staff here can follow weather trends. Some users are even going as far as comparing temperature trends between this year and last and have shown, for example, that it is 10 degrees colder on average here this year compared to last.
The SymBot Lite operated normally throughout the winter and collected data accurately. Below are some examples of data retrieved from SymSite for the past year, including temperature and relative humidity data collected from Aug 1, 2012 to Aug 1, 2013.
The client is currently looking at expanding the data acquisition capabilities of the station. Additional parameters would need to be integrated into the SymBot Lite, including
• Snow Depth
The addition of this information would be of need to aircraft pilots who need to determine atmospheric conditions before leaving Iqaluit. Even on a typical routine maintenance visit, there were several instances where it would be sunny in Iqaluit, but foggy, rainy and unsafe to land aircraft at the Discovery camp located 120 km northeast.