Central Data Unit

The CDU is often referred as the “Onboard Sledge Computer”

Sending data direct from the ice

Direct communications from polar expeditions to back home have, up until now, been severely restricted, at least when compared to communicating from other regions of the world. This is due to the extremely narrow bandwidth and resulting low data transmission rate offered by Iridium, the only available satellite network operating over the polar regions.

However using both innovative strategies and state-of-the-art equipment, the expedition’s Ice Team will be able to transmit video and web cam footage and high-resolution still images directly from the Arctic Ocean. A custom-built, onboard sledge computer coupled to a multi-modem, Iridium data-uplink system has been specially designed to withstand the deep cold and rough use in a polar environment. This equipment will receive, reformat, store, compress and most importantly transmit all of the vital science, image, audio, video and bio-telemetry data back to the UK HQ – on a live, delayed live or overnight basis.

By linking reportage-style web-cam footage and live audio commentaries (for example) to the data generated from body-worn bio-monitors (another area of technological innovation) it will be possible for people not just to follow the team's progress, but to experience it.

This innovative transmission technology will connect Pen and the team directly to newsrooms, websites, mobile phones and PCs allowing a global audience to be directly connected to what is happening on the ice.

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Central Data Unit gallery, photos of team and expedition.
"Technology" Blog Posts
The Polar Woodpecker
Posted by Dominic Hilton
Manual drilling takes CAS expedition leader Pen Hadow approximately four hours a day. He’s developed a routine of heading out from the tent in the early evening......more
Thursday, 16th April 2009
Team turns to traditional survey methods as technology battles force of nature
Posted by Dominic Hilton
The Catlin Arctic Survey has now released its first set of ice and snow thickness measurements, showing the floating sea ice cover it has travelled over in the early stage is predominantly new ice......more
Wednesday, 15th April 2009
Muscle Immobilisation
Posted by Dr Craig McLean
The effects of lying on your back inside a frozen tent for 5 days awaiting resupply has grave effects on mental and physical wellbeing....more
Saturday, 21st March 2009
Perran on Power Supplies for the expedition
Posted by Perran Newman
Traditional polar expeditions have a modest power requirement that is usually met using a combination of primary (non rechargeable) Lithium batteries and seconday batteries recharged.....more
Friday, 20th March 2009
Chivalry on the ice
Posted by Ann Daniels
Before the re-supply, all I could think of was The Re-Supply. Now that it’s been and gone of course, my mind is onto the next thing!...more
Friday, 20th March 2009
Department for International Development Conference
Posted by Rod Macrae
Today Pen addressed the DFID conference on development and was interviewed by satellite phone live from the ice by the Secretary of State for International Development Douglas Alexander....more
Monday, 09th March 2009
And they are off
Posted by Ian Wesley
A big day today and spirits were high. After a prolonged packing session the Ice Team are out on the ice for their first mini expedition together. They left with sleds packed high and bristling with antennas....more
Friday, 16th January 2009

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