The first LoRaWAN® gateway running in Antarctica

TheThings Network

The Things Network Global Team

Posted on 24-02-2023

SAEF (Securing Antarctica’s Environmental Feature) AIoT team at the University of Wollongong and NVIDIA installed the first LoRaWAN® enabled gateway on the top of the Sciences Building at Casey Research Station in Antarctica. The gateway transmits data to Australia in real time.

The goal of the project is to install AIoT sensing platform in the field far away from the station, in Antarctica Specially Protected Areas. The data sent to the AIoT platform records radiation (light intensity), ambient temperature and humidity, moss canopy temperature, and the energy transfer between the soil and surface air. The station also has a webcam that sends images of the surrounding environment.

“It was exciting to be on the field to install the AioT platform and the first lorawan gateway in Antarctica. This season was about testing the component of the platform and to validate the complete pipeline from collecting the data in Antarctica to transmitting it back to Australia and visualizing in real-time. The AioT platform collects data from multiple sensors, process with AI it in real-time in-situ thanks to the NVIDIA Jetson Xavier NX before transmitting the relevant data every minute. Since we aim to deploy the platform in remote location, km away from from Casey Research Station, and the amount of data being transmitted remains small, LoRaWAN is the ideal solution for data transmission,” says Dr Johan Barthelemy, Developer Relations Manager at NVIDIA.

“I wasn’t in Antarctica with the team this year, but it was was exciting to be able to follow their progress from afar in realtime. For the first time we could see what temperature the mosses were throughout the day and importantly how warm they stayed when blanketed by snow. Trips to Antarctica are hard to come by and usually very short, and the SAEF AIot team’s advances will allow us to monitor the health of these precious ecosystems, from afar and throughout the year. In future I would like us to be sharing this data with school kids, and citizen scientists so that more people can experience Antarctica!” - Sharon Robinson, Professor at the University of Wollongong.

“As the end user of the data being collected by the AioT platform, it was really exciting and rewarding to be in the field to deploy it for the first time and then to be able to see the data in real-time on my mobile phone. The ability to collect and transmit data continuously over multiple years is a big step forward for our research and it will fill in the large gaps between our summer field campaigns and allow us to answer questions about biological changes in Antarctic moss beds that we haven’t been able to answer before. It will be particularly useful for understanding the impacts of heat waves in Antarctica which have increased in frequency over recent years,” says Krystal Randall, SAEF.

SAEF AIoT team used Multitech Conduit IP67 Base Station for this deployment. The smart remote monitoring platform is built around a Jetson Xavier NX edge computer. The AIoT sensing platform was designed at the University of Wollongong. All data about network components, apart from images (which are transmitted via WiFi), is transmitted via a LoRaWAN network. The project is built on The Things Stack LoRaWAN Network Server, which is used for real-time data monitoring and interpretation.

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