On This Page The Technology Field Tests Updates Live Updates

Canada By Canoe

This site has moved. It can be found on the national platform CanExploreWhat remains below is last years website

The Technology

Erin and Alison carry a wealth of telecommunications technology that seems strikingly out of context with the wilderness in which they find themselves. The backbone of this communications nexus is the OmniQuest Satellite phone which is their only link with the outside world. Their photographs are taken with a Canon A5 Power Shot digital Camera. A Sony 505PS notebook computer interfaces the camera to the satellite phone. A permanent digital archive is created on the computer while a selected few photographs and associated text are chosen for live feed. The satellite phone, while a wonderful piece of technology can transmit data at only 4800bps. Under ideal conditions a 50Kb file will take at least two minutes to transmit. This necessitates a very judicious use of airtime and battery time.


Field Tests

The equipment was subjected to rigourous testing in a surprisingly short period of time. As always with such endeavours, the way the equipment should behave, and the way it does behave are often two different things. Even overcoming the difficulties of reading an LCD monitor in intense sunlight are often not anticipated in the planning stages.


Unfortunately, the rigours of their schedule and the limitations on their electrical power eliminate the option of daily transmissions for the near future. Only as they approach the rare town will Erin and Alison be able to transmit frequently. The update schedule allowed for two updates per week of the website.

Erin and Alison left for Thunder Bay on Saturday, May 8. High winds and a rigourous press schedule delayed their departure for two days, until Saturday May 15. Their first live satellite transmission live was Wednesday May 12. Taken en route, and around Thunder Bay, only the picture of food barrels was received before weather interfered with the remaining transmission.

There was a brutal 14km portage in the first days of the trip. It is during this initial two weeks that the body must become accustomed to the demands of the wilderness. Foul weather has accompanied them for a large portion of the trip.

There have been persistent problems with the satellite transmissions. Early on in May and June the transmissions were knocked out by technical problems in Toronto. Foul weather damaged some of the equipment in July that has terminated transmissions since then.

The last verbal report of their position came in a week ago from Thompson River.

The live update page which refreshes itself the moment any transmissions are received can be accessed


The satellite airtime has been provided by Intersat. Inlogic Corporation has given invaluable technological and financial help with the notebook computer. The Rotary Clubs of Canada have also contributed to the computer and camera technology required for the live updates. Colautti Enterprises has coordinated the technology and integrated the results into the website.