One week – four projects

One week – four projects

August 31, 2016
Head of Communication

Five research scientists from Norut had outdoor offices at Ny-Ålesund last week. Equipped with ground radar and drones, they were involved with four projects. Read on for a brief overview.

The glacier is moving, what about the seabirds?

In summer there is significant runoff from the Kronebreen Glacier, which is situated 15 km from Ny-Ålesund in Svalbard. A lot of minerals and nutrients are released, creating considerable biological activity at the glacier terminus.

Norut, in collaboration with UiT The Arctic University of Norway and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), is using drones to survey how this affects the seabirds. The research vessel Helmer Hanssen and unmanned kayak (Jetyak) are also being used in this work.

How much does the glacier change?

Norut is also using ground radar to survey the area where the Kronebreen Glacier enters the sea. The purpose of the radar measurements is to study how the glacier moves, how frequently it calves and to measure the loss of glacier mass. The plan is to then create 3D models illustrating these data. Drones will also be used in this surveying work.

Norut is collaborating with the University of Oslo on this work. The Swiss manufacturer of the ground radar being used has its own representatives in place. They are interested to learn from the research scientists’ experiences in the field in order to further develop the equipment.

Town planning in Ny-Ålesund

There is a high level of activity in the research town of Ny-Ålesund. Consequently, Kings Bay, the company that owns and operates the research town, has a need for a very high resolution map of the town. This map will provide an important basis for the future development of Ny-Ålesund.

Drones from Norut are collecting data for 3D models of buildings and terrain. These drones are also being used to take orthophotos or, in other words, photos with georeferences like maps.

3D model for measuring snow

Norut has its own hangar for unmanned aircraft in Ny-Ålesund. While the research group is in place, they are using an area close to the airstrip to develop a terrain model. This 3D terrain model will improve measurements of snow, so it can be used to measure snow depth when there is a lot of snow as well as when there is little snow.