Elite Expedition Team Uses Juniper Systems' Archer 2™ to Collect GIS Data on Remote Burmese Peak

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The National Geographic is featuring an article in its September 2015 print edition about a team of elite climbers from The North Face and National Geographic, which used Juniper Systems' Archer 2 rugged handheld to collect elevation data on their expedition to determine Southeast Asia's highest peak last fall.

National Geographic writer, Mark Jenkins, collecting GPS data at the team’s highest point on Hkakabo Razi. Photo credit: Renan Ozturk

The North Face/National Geographic team was going off to face an entire spectrum of environmental extremes on their expedition... The Archer 2 was the ideal handheld for them...

Last fall, The North Face and National Geographic put together an expedition team of elite athletes to climb the two tallest peaks in Southeast Asia with a goal to determine the tallest. The issue of the tallest peak has been smeared with controversy in recent years, ever since digital analysis suggested that Hkakabo Razi, the long-believed tallest peak, may in fact be overshadowed by Mount Gamlang Razi, both of which are located in remote Myanmar.

The team approached Juniper Systems with the need for a rugged, high-precision GIS solution that could not only withstand the wet, rugged conditions of the jungle, but also the freezing temperatures of the peaks, while running for long periods of time in-between charges. After learning the team’s needs, Juniper Systems recommended its Archer 2 rugged handheld loaded with Effigis’ OnPOZ GNSS Software suite, along with Septentrio’s Altus APS-3 high-precision GPS external receiver to attain the highest degree of accuracy possible. By easily post-processing the results with Effigis’ EZSurv software, this solution would yield results that are accurate down to 2 millimeters in typical environments!

After a brief training by Juniper Systems’ Natural Resources Market Manager, Trevor Brown, the expedition team left for Myanmar on October 1st of last year, documenting their experiences on The North Face’s blog, Never Stop Exploring. They recorded location data along the way using the Archer 2’s JSNav GNSS app, and snapped geotagged photos. They exported this data and sent it to interested parties and school classes that were following their progress.

“The North Face/National Geographic team was going off to face an entire spectrum of environmental extremes on their expedition,” said Trevor Brown. “From hot and humid tropical climates to freezing, snow-covered mountain peaks, and with little to no opportunity to charge electronic devices, they needed a solution that was built for such conditions. The Archer 2 was the ideal handheld for them with its waterproof and dustproof design, 20+ hour battery life, and wide operating temperature range. Combined with the Altus GPS receiver and Effigis’ software, this solution would provide the high degree of accuracy necessary to solve the mystery.”

After navigating a long and arduous route through the snake-ridden, insect-infested jungle, the team faced the ascent of what some consider one of the most technically difficult peaks out there—Hkakabo Razi. They braved the grueling mountain with very little food and supplies, which, while lightening their load, left them unprepared for the strenuous physical demands and violent weather that awaited them. After several days of difficult climbing, they made a courageous attempt at the summit, but unfortunately, a series of unlucky events combined with the perilous conditions atop Hkakabo Razi forced them to turn back, unable to complete their goal of solving the mystery behind Southeast Asia’s highest peak.

“However,” says Brown, “Their journey was an amazing feat in and of itself. We are inspired by the team’s passion for adventure and are happy to see them all return home safely.”

National Geographic recently posted a video highlighting the expedition team’s journey. To watch the video, click here: http://bit.ly/1hQuMIU. There will also be an article about the expedition in National Graphic’s September 2015 print edition.

To read more about this story, visit Juniper Systems’ blog here: http://bit.ly/1U8tzOy.

About Juniper Systems:
Based out of Logan, UT, USA and Birmingham, UK Juniper Systems designs and manufactures rugged handheld computers and provides field data collection solutions for use in extreme environments. Since 1993, Juniper Systems has provided innovative mobile technology to natural resources, utilities and public services, geomatics, agriculture, industrial, and military markets. For more information on Juniper Systems products, please visit http://www.junipersys.com.

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Kirk Earl
Juniper Systems, Inc.
+1 (435) 753-1881 Ext: 8058
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