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QPS Client Spotlight: University Center in Svalbard

The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) is the world's northernmost institution for higher education and research, located in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen at 78°N. Every year over 600 students, half of whom come from outside of Norway, study Arctic Earth and life sciences and technology here.


Using high-resolution multibeam bathymetry to investigate the geological, glacial and climate history in the fjords and surrounding waters of Svalbard is an important part of Arctic marine geology research and education at UNIS. Recent acquisition of a Kongsberg EM2040 multibeam echosounder and close collaboration with QPS has provided UNIS a new modern platform of state-of-the-art hard- and software tools for seabed mapping. Learning the full process from data collection and processing through geophysical and geological interpretation to the presentation of results gives our students a unique hands-on experience in modern survey methods in a harsh but beautiful Arctic environment. 

Viking Explorer

QPS 3D data visualization and analysis software Fledermaus has been part of marine geology classes already for a number of years. Thanks to courtesy of QPS, new Qimera multibeam data processing software was tested for the first time in 2015. In August, marine geology students studied glacial landscapes and processes at two tidewater glacier margins that have considerably retreated during the past years. Mapping of the recently exposed submarine terrain using multibeam, sidescan and subbottom profiling, as well as examining the adjacent coastal areas identified a number of landforms and sediments associated with different glacial and glacimarine environments and processes. 

Viking Explorer surveying the fjords of Svalbard

Subsequent data processing using Qimera was a great experience. Versatility, ease of use and intuitive work flow of Qimera will undoubtedly add a new layer to the marine geology studies and enhance students’ learning experience in the future. 

Glacier front of Tunabreen and push moraines in Tempelfjorden

UNIS marine geology students mapping the fjords of Svalbard. Charting the uncharted seabed in high resolution is a captivating experience!

Special thanks to Riko Noormets, University of Svalbard for this content.

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QPS Client Spotlight: The University Center in Svalbard (UNIS)



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