12 April, 2001

John Gagnon, Civil Engineering Technician, Web Camera Images

Monitoring remote sites by installing web cameras for scientific investigation is just one of John Gagnon's specialties at the Cold Regions Engineering and Research Laboratory in Hanover, New Hampshire. John not only has the opportunity to travel to unusual and interesting locations for the installation of the CRREL web cameras but also develops the programming for data acquisition and weather and climate processing and retrieval.

Because it's neither cost efficient nor time efficient to live on a river bank, for instance, all winter taking regular photos of the climate changes impacting the regions in question, John Gagnon's web cameras are quickly becoming a significant mode of scientific documentation for CRREL's projects. Subtle changes in the conditions that affect these monitored studies are brought to life by assembling the images as animation. Scientists can view their projects at remote sites from the convenience of their office computer while conducting their other duties at CRREL.

It's not only cheaper to pay John Gagnon to install web cameras and monitor the acquisition of their data, but efficient use of the scientists' skills and time. John firmly believes in letting the computers do the work and he has the expertise to make this happen.

Some past examples of the diverse studies that CRREL's web cameras have focused on are:

* Missouri River in eastern Montana, documenting ice effects (movement and bank erosion of sediment) and loss of valuable farmlands.

* University of Maine's bridge decking cooperative observing a variety of composite materials for stronger and lighter materials for promoting bridge durability.

* Yankton, South Dakota viewing endangered species of birds.

* Lake Bomosseen, Vermont, monitoring ice motion and identifying climate changes triggering shore damage.

Active web cameras at CRREL's webcams site are:

* Hardwick, Vermont's low-cost ice control studying the prevention of ice jams on small rivers (sloped-block ice control structure).

* Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, Soo Lock's web camera on the St. Mary's River monitoring vessel traffic.

* Missouri River at Bismarck, North Dakota, studying the control of river water.

* Upstream of Rosseau Creek downstream of Oahe Dam monitoring ice control. * Mission Point on the St. Mary's River observing the effects of booms for ice control.

* Rock Island, Illinois monitoring ice condition for correlating with sediment movement.

* St Regis River, Hogansburg, New York monitoring the river's impact of ice on bridge structure.

* Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, on St. Mary's River observing the effectiveness of ice booms.

* Oil City, Pennsylvania monitoring river ice conditions.

* White River Junction, Vermont visually documenting ice conditions for correlating with scour (movement of sediment) around the bridge and pier.

Of all his web camera endeavors for CRREL studies, John Gagnon is parcticularly pleased with the tremendous popularity of the Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, Soo Locks web camera. John tells me that this camera posts photos every two minutes and is typically accessed 500,000 to 1,000,000 times per week.

To see CRREL's web camera photos go to: http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/ierd/webcams/ and when you are finished don't forget to browse CRREL's home page at: http://www.crrel.usace.mil. John Gagnon may be contacted at jgagnon@crrel.usace.army.mil or telephoned in his office at (603) 646-4186.

By Sandra Kolb, March 2001

John Gagnon showing a live web camera photo of one of the CRREL projects. Photo by Sandra Kolb.

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