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KNMI monitors volcanic activity in the Caribbean Netherlands with Castor Networks VSAT

At the end of 2020, Castor Networks started a new collaboration with KNMI, the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute. This scientific governmental institute uses weather and geophysical monitoring stations (also called seismic/GNSS stations) throughout the entire Kingdom of the Netherlands. Using their monitoring network, they analyze weather conditions and geophysical phenomena and warn inhabitants in case of calamities.

Except the Netherlands itself, some small islands in the Caribbean are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, amongst others the ‘public bodies’ Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. In order to complete their off-grid seismic monitoring station on St Eustatius, KNMI needed remote internet. They found Castor Networks.

Volcano monitoring in the Caribbean

The Caribbean islands are located in a region of high geological activity, regularly experiencing earthquakes and occasionally tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. Therefore, monitoring this activity is a vital task for the KNMI. Mostly, volcanoes such as Sint Eustatius’s Quill are quiet. But if there is a chance of eruption or another irregularity, inhabitants should be warned in order to ensure timely evacuation. These warnings are sent out from the central KNMI Headquarters in De Bilt, the Netherlands. In order to support reliable communication between the calamity site and De Bilt, a stable internet connection between local seismic/GNSS stations and the HQ is crucial.

Covering a blind spot with reliable VSAT internet from Castor

Last year, KNMI chose to complete their monitoring network on St Eustatius, to cover their blind spot at the remote south-east end of the island. The two seismic/GNSS stations built previously were tied to a nearby building, using a fixed internet connection. But at this remote site, a VSAT satellite was necessary. After some research, the institute quickly learned that the satellites locals used were insufficient for their demands. In order to ensure stable monitoring and communication from seismic/GNSS stations, KNMI chose to join hands with Castor Networks. We installed reliable high-speed VSAT internet:

  • VSAT internet Satellite: T12V Pan America at 15 West
  • Installation of 1.2m Ku band antenna

As Castor Networks, we are very pleased to enable KNMI to fulfill their life-saving task using our VSAT internet.

 

“With Castor Networks, we found a reliable partner that takes communication seriously”

 

Elske de Zeeuw-Van Dalfsen, volcanologist and project leader at KNMI for the St Eustatius seismic/GNSS station: “We needed a reliable partner for our internet services, with coverage in the Netherlands as well as in the Caribbean area. Castor was one of the few network companies that provided this. Furthermore, since data exchange is crucial for our job, internet connectivity must be highly stable. This means that technical service had to be excellent, taking communication very seriously.”

Why did KNMI choose Castor Networks?

The main reasons why KNMI chose Castor Networks as their partner for VSAT internet:

-    Great coverage
-    Reliable, stable VSAT internet
-    Knowledgeable technical support
-    Quick to respond in case of questions or issues

Partnership: remote internet installation in St Eustatius, Saba and more

The new seismic/GNSS station on St Eustatius is the first of a series of newly built stations in the Dutch Caribbean, that will be used to fill monitoring gaps. The stations will be connected to Castor’s VSAT internet one at a time. Currently, a satellite antenna is being shipped towards the island of Saba – it will be installed this April. At Castor, we are excited about this interesting long-term collaboration, protecting local inhabitants against nature’s extremities.