NZ Antarctic programme looks to IT upgrade

Antarctica New Zealand is calling for expressions of interest in an upgrade of its information management systems.

Antarctica New Zealand is calling for expressions of interest in an upgrade of its information management systems.

The crown entity, which manages New Zealand’s Antarctic programme on government funding of $6.2 million a year, recently changed from running an Apple Mac network to Windows NT.

The body manages its communications through four data links. Two of the links run between sites in Antarctica; one is a 64Kbit/s link between Scott Base and the Arrival Heights laboratory in Antarctica, between which data from scientific research is transmitted. The other, also 64Kbit/s, is between Scott Base and the US McMurdo Station, which carries email and allows Scott Base access to software used by the US Antarctic programme such as cargo and passenger tracking systems.

The other links are a vital 19.2Kbit/s link between Scott Base and the International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch carrying email, file transfers, telnet, web access and remote control software and a 256Kbit/s internet connection running out of the centre.

Antarctica New Zealand’s briefing paper on the project notes that “interested organisations should not be limited [by that] technical architecture and may suggest solutions which require reconfiguration or upgrade of the technical architecture”.

However, the 19.2Kbit/s link from Scott Base to Christchurch will stay. “While there is a possibility that at some future point the 19.2Kbit/s data link will be upgraded to 64k, this upgrade cannot be assumed at this time and proposers should detail the possible impacts of this constraint on their potential solutions.”

Antarctica New Zealand is asking interested organisations to submit a request for information (RFI) by August 15, after which it will invite requests for proposals to selected organisations. The organisation would not elaborate on the details of the RFI.

The format and details are available at

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