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Arctic - Summer Environment

Once the snow and ice leave, the landscape transforms into a very picturesque place. The flowers explode onto the scene very quickly because they know the season is short and a lot has to get done. They are not alone in this. The wildlife comes out of hybernation or migrates back to take advantage of all the new greenery.

It's also time to make the most of the long days. The survey crews arrive by float plane usually. All the personnel and equipment must fit into the hold of the plane so efficient packing is crucial. Supply day brings much needed fuel, water, groceries, and more equipment.

Supply Plane

Camp is opened up and prepared ahead of crew arrival. The outfitters know their job extremely well.

Summer Camp

The weather can change quickly in summer but threatening skies like this sometimes blow over without causing a fuss. Small rain showers develop but pass quickly. It's still a good idea to carry rain gear since the temperatures rarely get above 22 Celsius.

Threatening Sky

Prospects are generally quite large in the north. A camp can be located in the centre but activities can still take you 20 to 30 kilometers away - too far to travel on foot. Very few off-road vehicles are allowed in the North in the summer - damage to the slow-growth vegetation stays visible for many years. Apart from that, it's simply too much trouble to weave your way through boulder fields, thick bush, muskeg, and swamp.

The helicopter is the workhorse for transporting crews, equipment, and supplies within and between prospects. Bad weather can easily ground a helicopter though, so some days that would normally be fine for surveying may not be fine for flying.

Helicopter Transport

A gorgeous view. The caribou begin to migrate in and you get to witness thousands of animals all moving in the same direction. They are pretty much oblivious to the survey crew and don't pose a problem - except that they also trigger the awakening of the Barren Land Grizzly Bear. The helicopter pilot cruising the area on regular runs is always on the lookout for bears.

View of the Tundra

The crew is dropped off beginning with the GPS operator who sets up the GPS base near the centre of the grid, on a high point. This reduces the overall walking during the day and reduces the chance that part of the grid will be in a radio shadow. Real-time GPS is great for grid layout.

GPS Base Setup

The grids vary in size so some of the crew may be dropped off at another location. Crews work in teams, no one works alone. Each of them have a VHF radio that can communicate with each other and the helicopter pilot. Each crew also has a satellite phone in case the grid is too far from camp. And don't forget to take a bottle of mosquito repellent. If you don't like the cloud of bugs surrounding your head all day, you may want to wear a mesh bug shirt with a full-face zip-up hood. Black flies get in everywhere so tying up your pant legs is not a fashion statement out here.

On the Grid

Gravity Reading

As the day winds down, the crews work toward each other or try to meet up at the base.


GPS control is established for each grid and all grids are tied together so the gravity data can be processed to the same datum.

Back to Base

The GPS Base Marker is placed for later visits. Visibility from the air is helpful for the pilot and coordinates are always available.

GPS Base Marker

When the day is done, all crews working away from camp, which may include drilling, magnetics, surface sampling, are scheduled for pickup by the camp manager and the helicopter pilot. It is important to keep in contact with camp staff so they can plan the flights.

Can you hear me now

One Fine Day





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Last Modified on Mon 10-Oct-2016

Geo Tagged for Geographic Discovery