Can your IT Department do this?

2006-06-24 11:03:02.000 – Jon Cotton,  IT Staff

Looking Northward

Not only did the summit clear out yesterday, but it provided a setting for a fantastic sunset. It started with stratus clouds around 5000′ piling up against the northern Presidentials like a blanket pulled up snug. They followed the contours up but stopped just shy of flowing over and through the gaps down in the Great Gulf. Slowly that blanket thinned revealing the valley below and Cherry Pond starting to glint with the amber sun. Looking over to Star Lake, I wondered if the guests and crew Madison Hut were able to revel in the height of solstice light. Undefined clouds to the west diffused the scene into a hazy summer’s evening where nothing was distinguishable besides the deep purple cast. It was a sunset that was good to start, lasted for a long time, and got better as it passed. Oranges deepened, pink fluff spread across the sky, and the valley faded into twilight.

You’ve seen many photos posted from Jim Salge, now you can see the man at work. Looking over his shoulder, he asked “are you documenting me documenting the sunset?” I would say “artistically portraying”. In my case, I am portraying the nice curl of hair in silhouette.

You may have heard mention of the Research Infrastructure Upgrade that we have been working hard on for two years. This winter, we pulled hundreds of unused cables belonging to former research projects in preparation for our own. New instruments, new databases, real-time monitoring. As a member you have read this in Windswept, heard the plans and progress at Annual Meeting, as well as seeing the occasional post in these Observer Comments.

The RIU staff presented an overview of all our facets to the all-staff planning meeting this past Wednesday. I’ll summarize. We have established wireless Internet links between our Discovery Center museum in North Conway 17 miles to the Summit, the Glen House, Wildcat Ski Area, the Auto Road Vertical Temperature Profile sites, and most recently Lakes of the Clouds Hut. Our weather instruments on the summit as well as at these remote sites feed real-time into a database, fiber optic lines now extended to all corners of the summit, all of our historical data is now available in the database, backup systems are in place and growing for full lightning protection, data integrity, and archival storage. Our observers can now run instrument comparisons to even better test a myriad of instruments to see if they can survive our weather. The outreach program can bring live-from-the-summit video to classrooms and media outlets everywhere. Our research department has a vast pool of 74-year continuous digitized data to analyze and publish. Already other organizations and universities are collaborating with us to utilize this new infrastructure. And we do this all while fixing paper jams. That’s not bad for a four-person technical department at a non-profit.

I’ll save the rest of the projects we are doing for another post.


Jon Cotton,  IT Staff

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