To ensure the highest quality data from our test sites, our process includes monitoring capabilities that allow us to collect measurements for comparing test areas with reflective sand to untreated areas. We collect these measurements from our buoys, drone, and satellite monitoring
Our test sites would not be complete without advanced monitoring to collect data on material effectiveness. Since 2010, we've designed our own Arctic monitoring buoys to match state-of-the-art buoys currently on the market. Our latest buoy, SIMB3, takes reflectivity, temperature column, and visual measurements and sends them wirelessly to our lab in Sunnyvale, California, USA. This season, we also placed a top-of-the-line monitoring buoy alongside our own to ensure we'd have a robust data set on this season's deployment at our Arctic test site.
Meet Maverick, our test site monitoring drone. During the melt, we plod through melting Arctic tundra to our test site and fly Maverick over our test areas. Taking photos at set heights above our experiment and control (where no material is placed) areas, we then run the photos through an image processing algorithm that approximates and compares their reflectivity. So far, we've seen that all areas where material is applied are significantly brighter than areas where it was not.
Advances in satellite sensing have unlocked the opportunity to get high-resolution aerial images of our test site, even in cloud cover. Traditionally-accessible satellites rarely point toward the Arctic and can't get through the frequent cloud cover to provide consistent, reliable data on material effectiveness. However, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite monitoring allows us to gather reflectivity data at our test site by employing radar sensing instead of traditional photography. This option will allow for the capture of reflectivity data at scale without the need for terrestrial buoys.