Rugged tech helps track source of marine litter

Tuesday, 02 June, 2020 | Supplied by: Getac Technology Corp

Rugged tech helps track source of marine litter

Dedicated to the removal and prevention of marine debris, not-for-profit organisation Tangaroa Blue Foundation created the Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI) — an on-ground network of volunteers, communities and organisations that contribute data from rubbish collected at beach and river clean-up events to the AMDI database and devise solutions to stop the flow of litter at the source. AMDI helps communities look after their coastal environment by providing resources and support programs, and collaborates with industry and government to create change on a large scale.

To identify the source of marine debris and litter, volunteers work year-round across Australia. Initially, paper data sheets were used to keep records; however, these were easily misplaced, could not withstand the exposure to rain, salt and sand, and were subject to wear and tear. Extreme weather conditions also put a regular computer’s durability and reliability to the test. Besides the risk of losing data due to rain, weather conditions decreased the efficiency of data processing, causing disruption to work.

The Foundation recognised that digitalisation of data collection methods was needed.

AMDI equipped its team with Getac V110 laptops, built from magnesium alloy and weighing only 2.1 kg at 12.32 x 9.37 x 1.53″. The laptops can be configured with Intel Core i5 or i7 processors and feature four main casings specifically engineered to protect against drops, shocks, vibration and elements such as heavy rain and dust.

Touchscreen technology, bonding the display glass with the touch panel and LCD, creates a single pane that is durable and readable. Four touch modes accommodate rain, gloves or a stylus, and the waterproof-membrane keyboard and red backlight mean that volunteers can type accurately in poorly lit conditions.

To manage long field trips, the V110s have a hot-swappable dual-battery design that allows continuous usage, without the need to charge in between. The devices also allow the team to consolidate data from various units and submit to the AMDI database, keeping in touch with the world while they are out in the field.

“We have been using Getac units for over six years,” Tangaroa Blue Foundation Managing Director Heidi Tait said.

“They have made a massive difference to the way we collect data in the field, improving efficiency and accuracy. We’ve always received fast and reliable service from the Getac team, which meant minimal downtime during servicing of equipment or troubleshooting.”

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