Exactly six months ago, in September 2022, Solander’s Eye – an autonomous field station in Vatnajökull National Park in Iceland – began to activate all of its observation instruments and send data to IK’s servers, as in turn – and in seconds – then published them as a scientific resource for all interested parties.
Since the field station’s inception in the young landscape, which was only a few decades ago under the ice of the mighty Vatnajökull glacier, it has recorded invaluable data for the understanding of the local biosphere. Hundreds of thousands of interested people from all over the world have been able to follow Solander’s Eye LIVE stream of pictures and data around the clock; interested researchers have dug deep into Creative Commons’ open data to build new research projects.
The field station project is part of a unique cooperation in Iceland, which is best explained by its initiator Pär Ahlberger, who is the Ambassador to Sweden in Iceland.
”THE SOLANDER 250 commemoration is the most comprehensive project ever between Iceland and Sweden. It is a cross-cultural, interdisciplinary dialogue involving art and science. So far, more than 30 activities have been attended by some 6000 people. The Field Station | Solander’s Eye in Vatnajökull National Park is a vital part of the entire project. The IK Foundation, in collaboration with the University of Iceland, monitors the landscape biosphere, such as wildlife, weather, vegetation, atmosphere and more without human intervention. All data is accessible online. This is what the Solander 250 is all about. Curiosity and science to reach out to the wider community. In the footsteps of Daniel Solander and the wider group of the Linnaeus Apostles.”
The technology behind Solander’s Eye is part of an enterprise department within The IK Foundation, which has brought together leading international knowledge environments under an umbrella to develop a new approach in scientific field stations – which do not disturb the location they should observe, can be run environmentally friendly, unmanned and only take up one square meter of space! Technical trivia is, for example, what Henry Mills and Tom Chicken, the project's fuel cell experts, tell us:
“The fuel cell system has, since September 2022, produced 132kWh of quiet, low emission power to the batteries. This has in turn allowed around 4,000 hours of autonomous and uninterrupted monitoring of the surrounding wildlife and biosphere. A further 264kWh of power remains stored in the fuel tanks. This gives the possibility of autonomous operation for more than one year. We hope that the minimal human intervention afforded by the fuel cell system will benefit the conservation of the local area and in addition, will lend greater authenticity to the data captured by the Solander’s Eye.”
Solander’s Eye is now continuing its work, and in the next six months both exhibitions, seminars and much more will be presented in Iceland – interested parties will be easily updated by the following links:
Explore more | Project site with Micro.blog
Explore more | Live stream Solander’s Eye
Explore more | Solander’s Eye observation data
Explore more | Video explainer ”The FIELD STATION | NATURAE OBSERVATIO” system