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Aug 3, 2007

High tech equipment will measure sea level rise

Story PictureScientists tell us that sea levels are rising due to global warming … but how do you measure the level of the sea if the land is also moving up and down? This week Belize became the sixth country in the Caribbean to install a device called a Continuously Operating Reference System, CORS. Located on land, CORS will work in conjunction with soon-to-be installed sea level monitoring equipment, to give an accurate picture of sea level changes. According to Keith Miller, head of the Department of Surveying and Land Information at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad, the instrument systems will also be useful for surveyors.

Keith Miller, Dept. of Surveying and Land Info, UWI
“When you start measuring sea level you never know whether it’s sea level that’s changing or the land mass that is moving, so in order to monitor the formation of the land mass we’re using satellite surveying equipment which operates with G.P.S. equipment, the Global Positioning System. We’re concerned about sustainability of the equipment when it goes in place and the surveying equipment is extremely useful to the local survey community, so by getting them on board in using the equipment we can ensure sustainability of the information that’s in place and the data that we acquire.”

Wilford Williams, Principal Surveyor, Lands and Survey Dept.
“It should facilitate expediting surveys, especially in remote areas, using this technology. … The CORS station will provide information in the newer world of G.P.S. technology so that if a surveyor needs to go and work in the field, he can use the advantage of this CORS station, combine it with the other CORS station from the university and get a coordinated point to do his other surveys.”

On Thursday approximately twenty surveyors attended a workshop in Belmopan to learn more about CORS. The information from CORS and all the sea level monitoring equipment across the Caribbean is networked to project headquarters in Trinidad. The sea level monitoring equipment, to be installed next month, will replace the older non-functioning apparatus at the pier of the Belize City Port. The CORS equipment is located nearby at the Customs building.

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