Computing in cold places: ice cubes, fjords and handwarmers

Actions and Detail Panel


Event Information

Share this event

Date and time



Online event

Event description
BCS Mid-Wales branch

About this event


Dr Mark Neal, Ystumtec Ltd


A look at using computing to perform surveys with a novel deep-water sonar scanner in Greenland. This will discuss the challenges in performing this work and the lessons learned.

The meeting with start with a short Annual General Meeting for BCS Mid-Wales Branch. The talk begins straight after the AGM.

18:50 – Join the Zoom call

19:00 – Annual General Meeting for BCS Mid-Wales Branch

19:10 – Main presentation. This follows the end of the AGM.

20:30 - Close


Fieldwork in any environment carries challenges and surprises but working in the extreme cold multiplies the opportunities for mistakes and failures in a number of ways.

A recent trip to Greenland to perform surveys with a novel deep-water sonar scanner exposed a number of interesting problems and modes of equipment failure. It also revealed that the majority of failures were due to "normal" human error which lead to failures, increased expense and reduced data quality on a number of occasions.

I will describe the conditions that we worked in on the floating ice, transport of equipment and people, the experience of working with complex IT systems and software in that environment and a few of the lessons that I learned. In particular the need for lightweight equipment, robust connectors, robust interfaces (hardware and software), reliable power sources and well established routines are considered.


Mark Neal left academia 4 years ago and now runs his small company that specialises in custom building hardware, firmware and software systems for research organisations in academia and industry.

The company has customers working in a number of fields including precision agriculture, autonomous survey, wild animal tracking, environmental monitoring and agrochemical application.


BCS Mid-Wales branch

Visit :

Our events are for adults aged 16 years and over.

Share with friends

Date and time


Online event

Organiser BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT

Organiser of Computing in cold places: ice cubes, fjords and handwarmers

We are all responsible for ensuring technology-led change is safe and positive for everyone in society. At BCS we’re committed to meeting this responsibility under royal charter.

That’s why we set the highest standards of professionalism and best practice in the industry, share knowledge, and develop skills and capability tuned to our evolving digital world.

We’ve been supporting the technology industry since 1957 and our 73,000-strong membership spans 150 countries. Every member actively promotes IT professionalism and we provide them with career development opportunities and bring the community together to address the professional, ethical and economic challenges facing technology today.

Save This Event

Event Saved