The Earthscope Plate Boundary Observatory Alaska Region an Overview of Network Operation, Maintenance and Improvement Abstract


  • UNAVCO has now completed its third year of operation of the 138 continuous GPS stations, 12 tiltmeters and 31 communications relays that comprise the Alaska Region of the Earthscope Plate Boundary Observatory. Working in Alaska has been challenging due to the extreme environmental conditions encountered and logistics difficulties. Despite these challenges we have been able to complete each summer field season with network operation at 95% or better. Throughout the last three years we have analyzed both our successes and failures to improve the quality of our network and better serve the scientific community. Additionally, we continue to evaluate and deploy new technologies to improve station reliability and add to the data set available from our stations. 2011 was a busy year for the Alaska engineering team and some highlights from last year's maintenance season include the following. This spring we completed testing and deployment of the first Inmarsat BGAN satellite terminal for data telemetry at AC60 Shemya Island. Shemya Island is at the far western end of the Aleutian Islands and is one of the most remote and difficult to access stations in the PBO AK network. Until the installation of the BGAN, this station was offline with no data telemetry for almost one year. Since the installation of the BGAN in early April 2011 dataflow has been uninterrupted. This year we also completed the first deployments of Stardot NetCamSC webcams in the PBO Network. Currently, these are installed and operational at six GPS stations in Alaska, with plans to install several more next season in Alaska. Images from these cameras can be found at the station homepages linked to from the UNAVCO website. In addition to the hard work put in by PBO engineers this year, it is important that we recognize the contributions of our partners. In particular the Alaska Volcano Observatory, the Alaska Earthquake Information Center and others who have provided us with valuable engineering assistance and data telemetry in several locations. With their help we have reduced the number of stations that require manual data download to six in the entire Alaska network getting us closer to our goal of 100% auto data archival for the Alaska network.

publication date

  • 2011

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