----> Start Homepage - Guestbook + contact
First animal webcam from the Antarctic: Gentoo Penguins
Phase 1, January 2004
Phase 2, March 2004
Phase 3, September 2004
Since my childhood I'm very interested in all aspects of nature and ecology but till now I never was in the Antarctic. In beginning of 2004 I realized that there was not a single webcam on the Antarctic continent which observes the best known species of this part of our planet: penguins. Ok, there were already some antarctic webcams but most of them showed very boaring buildings in a terrible picture quality! Just disappointing...
It was in 2003 when I mounted one of the first weatherproof MOBOTIX webcams on the roof of my home as a "weather webcam" (=> pic ). These network cams (made in Germany) provide a stunning picture quality with plenty of interesting and unique features. Perfect tools for any high quality outdoor webcam solutions (but they have models for indoor surveillance tasks too). The MOBOTIX company has their principal office not far from my home in southwest Germany and was founded as the result of a students initiative at the University of Kaiserslautern.
My idea: if somewhere in the Antarctic a penguin webcam could be installed then only a solution with excellent picture quality and extremely robustness of all hardware components.
By chance I discovered that the German Research Station "GARS O'Higgins" in the northern part of the antarctic peninsula had already a MOBOTIX-Webcam in use and on that picture I could see some penguins in the distance, but quite small. The link to this cam was completely unknown for all webcam collections worldwide at that time, just something for insiders... ;-)
I wrote an email to the station and made an offer: "Would you mount a MOBOTIX- webcam with a tele lens if I can find sponsors to buy it?" One of the crew members told me that it might be possible if we pay ALL costs. This was the beginning of the worldwide first Penguin webcam from the Antarctic!
I thank Mr. Reiner Wojdziak from the German Federal Agency for Geodesy and Cartography in Leipzig to his fantastic support by transporting the camera, installation and configuration -- he did everything in his very short free time during his stay at the research station! Without his superb help the idea could not have been realized at all. Thank you, Mr. Wojdziak!
The pictures are usually updated every 15 minutes by satellite. The first penguins are expected to arrive in middle of October, the last ones will leave in late April.
Realization + Start
As the result of this idea and with financial support of 13 people (==> names of sponsors) and a very creative primary school class and their teacher Mrs. Renate Luehr (Gummersbach), the worldwide first penguin webcam on the antarctic continent is online since 27 September, 2004. It was mounted by Mr. Reiner Wojdziak from the German Federal Agency for Geodesy and Cartography in Leipzig.
The whole project is non-commercial!
The school class produced about 60 of those very beautiful wodden penguins. These pieces of handicraft work are handpainted and were sold for approx. 250 Euro! The children are very proud to have supported the penguin webcam! Imagine these handicrafts are made my 9 to 10 year old children, they are true artists!
What can you see?
View to the brood place of a small group of Gentoo penguins at the chilean/german research station "Base Bernado O'Higgins" in the very north of the antarctic peninsula.
From time to time icebergs are floating by, they come from glaciers of the left, they are part of the coast mountain range of the antarctic peninsula stretching to south-west. The radio telescope (diameter about 10 meters) belongs to the German Research Station - the cross is a memorial place for all chilean scientists, which died during the last 60 year on this station, the small stone monument has a madonna inside. Explanation: Base Bernado O'Higgins is founded by Chile (most of them are catholics) in February 1948.
Base Bernado O'Higgins is located on a very small island just next to a glacier.
MOBOTIX-M10 Dual-Secure Network Camera: fantastic for our pupose! 100% weatherproof, the best brand for any rough outdoor conditions. This cam needs no additional shelter or housing! This proves once more the extrordinary robustness of MOBOTIX cameras (made in Germany).
The webcam is mounted outside of one of the Research Station's containers of the German part of the station.
Picture above: our penguin camera, fixed on the corner of a container. The cam to the right is the "famous" penguincam, the left camera points to the radio telescope. The cams are integrated into the researcj station computer network with their own IP-number. Our cam has a tele and a wide angle lens and a built in weatherproof microphone. In future we maybe will make use of the microphone: the camera could send several short video clips with sound every day!
The penguin is one of the wooden handicrafts made by a german primary school class. These beautiful penguins have a small magnet on their backside and were sold for about 250 Euro to support the webcam project! The cam can be maintained via satellite from Germany for changes in ftp-configuration or something else. We have no pan/tilt-function added because the regular horrible storms with lot of salty spray from the nearby ocean (only 30 meters away, 10 meters below) would destroy the mechanism quite fast...
Picture above: the radio telescope and the white containers belong to the german part of the station, the red building to the right is part of the chilean station. The camera is mounted on the weather tower of the chilean station for a better view over the whole scene! In the background you can see some parts of the islands infront of the antarctic peninsula. The view direction is to the west!
General informations on Base General Bernado O'Higgins
Born 1966 in Edenkoben (southwest Germany). From 1989 till 1997 I worked as a "Biologisch-Technischer-Assistent" at the Institute for Zoology (University of Erlangen); involved in fundamental research projects about insect ecology, physiology and functional morphology. Very interesting time. After that I studied landscape architecture/landscape planning and finished successfully in 2002 with special awards for my diploma thesis. I worked 6 months for the siberian environmental group "Baikal Wave" (Irkutsk) and was envolved in the management of a large school project (Anti-Waste campaign, creation of a parc on a former factory site at the Angara river). My latest large project: for the "Department of the Environment" of the federal state "Rhineland-Platinate" I made a multimedia documentation of the very complex and fascinating cultural landscape along a 60 km long creek which was already mentioned on a world map from 1250 AD.
A first version of this project is now online (700 MB) ==> www.SpeyerBach.info
I am member of different environmental groups and member of "Bündnis 90/Die Grünen" (literally: Alliance '90/The Greens), the ==> German Green Party.
Interests: Travelling (China, Russia/Siberia by backpack, USA, Israel, Lebanon, Spain, France, England, Estonia, Sweden, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Luxembourg, Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republik, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Portugal, Lithuania), boomerangs, photographing, music (synthesizer, sound experiments) and much more. Since 6 years I am very interested in gardening, especially perennials for dry conditions. On my website I have a small documentation about the changes of our garden ==> visit the garden - webcam on the roof of our house
That's me during a backpack trip in the Hamar-Darban mountain area (Lake Baikal, Siberia, Russia)
At the moment I live and work in the small but very beautiful city of Neustadt an der Weinstraße amidst germany's largest wine growing region. Infos ==> Neustadt an der Weinstrasse. Just 1 km from my home one of germany's largest forests starts (UNESCO biosphere reserve, the first transborder reserve in Europe) ==> pic
Not far from my home. visit the famous city of Heidelberg (45 km distance) and the world's largest cathedral in romanesque style (built in 1050 AD, it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site) in Speyer (25 km distance). There are many beautiful places everywhere. It's worth a visit! If you ever come in my region just write me an eMail before and we will meet somewhere ;-)
copyright www.martingrund.de --- impressum