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Quebec Bulletin
February-March 2016/Volume 19/Number 1

The Canadian Coast Guard Innovates With Raspberry Pi

Photo montrant le Raspberry Pi.
Raspberry Pi.

Each year, the Canadian Coast Guard’s icebreakers make the journey to the Arctic for a few months. Working in this unique, remote region is often very challenging, particularly from a technological standpoint. To access Internet and email, ships use a satellite antenna pointing system that enables them to track satellite signals automatically. However, in the High Arctic, near the North Pole, the system becomes unreliable and access to Internet and television is often interrupted.

To address this issue, a team of technicians from the Canadian Coast Guard in Québec has developed the first phase of a data acquisition system by using Raspberry Pi, a nano computer about the size of a credit card. The second phase is expected to begin soon and should make Internet access more stable, which is essential these days.

What is Raspberry Pi?

A British foundation developed an electronic circuit with a processor, storage and connections at a cost of less than $30. The goal was to help young people learn to do programming themselves rather than just using existing software.

David Braben wants to use his foundation to give younger generations a taste for programming again. Instead of proposing a simple language, a modern version of BASIC, Braben designed a rudimentary computer outlet not much larger than a USB key with the most inexpensive components possible.

Raspberry Pi is now used by a number of organizations.

Maxime Mercier
Canadian Coast Guard

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