Saturday, July 12, 2014

Now that's telecommuting!

I thought I had a good telecommuting gig, answering data user email from Europe or Asia from my laptop while lying in bed, but I saw some fantastic telecommuting yesterday.  (Leave your telecommuting stories in the comments.)

After the close of the meeting, I offered the data manager for Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution a ride to Boulder.  The weather was going to be challenging (lightning, thunder, torrential rain, localized flooding) and I didn't relish attempting the drive alone.

She asked if I would mind if she made phone calls during the drive.  I said that I didn't mind.  But, I was surprised by what I observed.  It may have been a normal work day for her, but I found it very interesting.  She gave me permission to blog about it.

She prefaced her calls by telling the other end that she was in an automobile on Interstate 70 in Colorado and may lose reception when we head into Eisenhower tunnel, which carries automobile traffic under the continental divide.

Eisenhower tunnel in clearer weather.  Photo from Wikipedia.
Who was she talking to?  Well, it wasn't these particular guys from a photo I snagged from WHOI, but guys suited up much like this so that they could dive down below to check how the scientific instruments fared from Hurricane Arthur.

The divers checked instrument health.  If everything looked fine, they came back up and then climbed to the top of the towers on the mooring so they could call her.  (I'm guessing they were on different moorings with taller towers than in this picture.)

From a moving car on the western (Pacific) side of the continental divide, she used her cell phone as a wi-fi hotspot and her laptop to remotely turn on the power to the instruments in the Atlantic ocean.  They repeated this sequence the entire trip to Boulder.

I know there are astronomers who remotely control telescopes.  What other remote science experiments can you think of?

1 comment:

  1. We have customers who turn on equipment at the South Pole from a ship off the coast of Chile, and I remotely installed SW from where I am in the office in Lille and Hamburg. Ive been on conference calls with teams in Australia and Asia, plus Brazil. I never would have dreamed of this when I was in school.

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