Course Details

Course outline

We aim to provide graduate students and early career researchers with the opportunity to learn how to build simple sensors and instruments that can be used for research in cold, high-latitude, and high-altitude regions. Use of such technology can greatly aid data collection in these regions, whilst delivering observations with lower financial and carbon costs than commercial approaches. Over the course of a week, you will learn both the theory and the practice of building an instrument to monitor environmental conditions in a cold environment. This course is designed for a wide range of technical abilities and no prior experience of engineering, electronics, or software development is required. You will deploy your instrument outdoors, most likely in the snow, and learn some field skills in the process. By the end of the course, you should have a working instrument that you can use and adapt for your own research and the skills required to deploy it in a cold environment

This course content covers:

  • Electronics for non-engineers: introductory circuit theory, digital and analogue signals
  • Software development for non-coders: using the Arduino development environment
  • Power supply: solar panels, regulators, batteries
  • Communications: cellular and satellite modems, wireless radio links
  • Weatherproofing: choice of enclosures, ingress protection (IP) ratings, cable glands
  • Field installation: poles and supports, guy ropes, snow and ice anchors, use of sledges
  • Safety: safe use of tools, electrical safety, basic field safety for snow- and ice-covered sites
  • Management: record-keeping, documentation, data curation, metadata management

Course organising committee

The course is organised by the following persons - for instructor biographies, click here:

  • Mike Prior-Jones (Cardiff University; lead organiser)
  • Liz Bagshaw (University of Bristol)
  • Lisa Craw (Cardiff University)
  • Simon Filhol (University of Oslo)
  • Emma Fisher (British Antarctic Survey)
  • Donna Frater (NERC; IDEA consultant)
  • Jonathan Hawkins (Cardiff University)
  • Emma Smith (University of Leeds)
  • Larissa van der Laan (University of Copenhagen)
  • Jenny Turton (Arctic Frontiers)
  • TJ Young (University of St Andrews)