Bringing High Rate, Low Latency Data From Unimak Island, Alaska

abstract

  • The Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO), part of the NSF-funded EarthScope project, completed the installation of a fourteen GPS stations, eight tiltmeters, one webcam, and one digital broadband seismometer on Unimak Island, Alaska in August, 2008. PBO collaborated with the USGS, who provided engineering support for this project. Combined with the USGS-operated seismic network, the Unimak Island network is a state of the art scientific network. The primary data communications goal of the project was to design and implement a robust data communications network capable of downloading 15-sec daily GPS files and to test the streaming of 1-Hz GPS data at a select set of GPS stations on Unimak Island. As part of the permitting agreement with the landowner, PBO co-located the GPS stations with existing USGS seismic stations. The high-speed radio link deployed allowed the USGS to test the feasibility of broadband seismometer installations on Unimak Island. This collaboration with the USGS was another successful joint operation between PBO and the USGS. The technical and logistical challenges involved in the project as well as some preliminary results of the data communications system will be presented. These challenges include complicated logistics, bad weather, complex network geometries with multiple radio repeaters, long distance RF transmission over water, hardware bandwidth limitations, power limitations, space limitations, as well as working in bear country on an incredibly remote and active volcano.

publication date

  • 2008