In April, Dutch polar explorer Marc Cornelissen led a team of three novice explorers across the frozen Arctic Ocean to the ‘Last Degree’ of the North Pole.

The men worked hard, skiing for 10 hours per day in temperatures ranging from -29°C to a more moderate – 12°C. Navigating through a mix of large ice flows, pressure ridges, freshly frozen cracks and open water, it was an extraordinary physical and mental challenge in an environment that is very hostile, and yet beguilingly beautiful.

The team covered the ‘Last Degree’ from 89° north to the Pole, a distance of 112 kilometres, They took rations and supplies that would have allowed for a 10 day ski-trek, but they completed it in a remarkably fast five days.

Marc and the team took an Iridium® based GTTS-2000 Tracking & Tracing unit from Leap Development with them as a lifeline and also to test the device under polar conditions. The unit will form the basis of a new generation of ultra-light Arctic Weather Stations.

The GTTS-2000 Tracking & Tracing unit is integrated with AWS’ Global Alerting Platform (GAP). The portal enabled friends, family and colleagues to follow the expedition with an hourly updated position so they could keep a track of their progress. GAP also provided accurate positions in case a search and rescue mission would have been needed.

Marc Cornelissen, who is coordinating the creation of the new weather station, commissioned Leap Development for the custom made electronics. Students of the University of Delft did the groundwork with an emphasis on the mechanical design. The new weather station will enable colleague explorers and scientists to collect valuable data during their missions. Collected data is transferred via the Iridium network to the coordinating scientist of the ‘International Arctic Buoy Program.