Mapping Earth’s Weather Calls for Extreme, Rugged Equipment

ASIAQ Greenland Survey is responsible for collecting all-important data that is the basis of many of the world’s climate surveys. But, working in some of the harshest climatic conditions imagineable is not for the fainthearted, and it’s team is entirely dependent on the performance and reliability of its technology.


written by Ulrika Sturk, Regional Marketing Manager (Nordics) at Panasonic TOUGHBOOK

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Extreme weather conditions, a high degree of unpredictability and a helicopter as one of the preferred means of transport. These are the working conditions for the team at ASIAQ Greenland Survey. It analyses weather patterns, takes measurements for mine extraction and the establishment of water power plants, and sources various environmental data for researchers and universities worldwide. Working in the world’s northermost landmass is exciting for ASIAQ Greenland Survey’s team, and one thing is certain: the unpredictability of the weather.

If you ask IT technologist Angunnguag Boassen, this is extremely exciting work, which is nevertheless both stressful and at times completely and utterly unpredictably due to the always changing weather conditions.

"You always feel that you know what is about to happen when you go to work in the morning, but then something always changes and challenges us in one way or another. Our work is about measuring nature, but unfortunately nature doesn’t conform to typical working practices – this is definitely not a 9-5 job."

Angunnguag Boasen

Reliability Key in Tight Weather Windows

One of the most challenging aspects for Angunnguag and his team is the small window of opportunty to collect data and maintain equipment from weather stations and other devices that need to be continously calibrated and inspected, all over Greenland. This is crucial, with all data transferred to computer units in the field, and subsequently processed at the head office in the capital, Nuuk.

”In the summer, we hurry all over the country to take advantage of the good weather – it’s signficantly easier for us to work when its warmer, instead of at -20°C. As we often take measurements from water, doing so before it freezes is imperative. The varying climatic conditions mean that a sudden, unexpected onset of rain or snow can appear from day-to-day. This unpredictability means that there is no guarantee that we can get a lift home if the weather conditions suddenly change while we are on a field trip. For example, we can leave in bright sunlight, and wake up the next morning to snow. On one occasion, this can result in waiting a week to return to base,” adds Angunnguag.


Harsh Conditions Necessitate Robust Equipment

In these harsh weather conditions, the work of ASIAQ Greenland Survey depends on robust equipment that can deal with everything. In addition to rain and snow, all equipment must be able to withstand high volumes of dust and moisture; the latter being especially important when the ASIAQ Greenland Survey is working at sea or in ports.

To meet these requirements, ASIAQ Greenland Survey has used Panasonic TOUGHBOOKs for a number of years, delivered by Danish IT supplier, Northcom. Their reliability and dependability in harsh weather enables the ASIAQ Greenland Survey to transfer data from climate stations back to Nuuk, regardless of the weather.

”With a large proportion of our work taking place in remote locations, our notebooks need to function reliably and without interruption – there isn’t the option for specialists to diagnose problems when we’re in the field. Our Panasonic TOUGHBOOKs have experienced every type of weather over the years, and we’ve never experienced any problems. Small details, such as covers on the USB ports, prevent dust or rain finding its way into the device. 

”As a result, we upgraded to new TOUGHBOOKs ealier this year; they have continued to work without any problems. The nature of our work means that devices are occasionally dropped, and come into contact with the ground, but we don’t need to worry. It is a significant mental and practical advantage to know that we can rely on our TOUGHBOOKs to carry out our work,” adds Angunnguag.

Panasonic’s range of dependable, ruggedised TOUGHBOOKs have a long history of working without interruption in the most challenging environments imaginable. For ASIAQ Greenland Survey, the reliability of TOUGHBOOKs is core to its day-to-day operations, where unplanned device downtime and any impact on business continuity is not an option.

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