Corky Update - June 2001
ORCA-LIVE GOES LIVE
Those of you who've been following the development of the "Orca-live" web site will be aware of the demo that's been on it since April, and quite possibly anticipating the "live" launch as eagerly as ourselves. It is now our pleasure to inform you that three days ago, at 4pm PDT July 31st, via satellite to Calgary & "land line" to Tokyo... & thence to the Internet... people around the world now have access to the sounds & images that have kept us enthralled here on Hanson Island for the past 30 years!
The Web address is: http://www.orca-live.net/
The audio data are from a hydrophone network we monitor continuously, i.e. the underwater acoustic spaces of Johnstone Strait, Blackney Pass & Blackfish Sound. The video data are from our video station at Cracroft Point, where we've installed several underwater cameras that serve as "windows" into the ordinary life of a kelp forest that's on one of the main orca travel routes. We also use a surface camera there. The "live" feed is chosen from one of the cameras, i.e. is determined by what is happening at the moment.
You'll need at least a 56K modem to access the live streaming data (video & audio). A faster modem will produce a smoother video image. Access also requires you to have Shockwave & RealPlayer 2, both of which can be downloaded from the site.
The video image you'll see on your computer screen is small, but we hope it will be clear, and interesting. The audio quality should be acceptable to most ears, except during bombardment by boat noise! Being "live", of course there's no knowing what's going to happen, or when. Registered members will receive email "alerts" about imminent events, so if you're registered and happen to be connected when we send an alert message out, you'll be able to catch the drama of the moment. The launch time coincided with an energetic "rubbing" session at the Main rubbing beach inside the Ecological Reserve at Robson Bight. Numerous orca families have been spending time in our area lately, so there've already been many great acoustic moments for the audience... along with lovely underwater kelp forest images, great fish scenes & at least one seal cruising past a camera. The web site tracks & displays the number of people logged on, so you'll know the size of the audience you're sharing the experience with. The largest audience we're aware of yet is 49 but we expect it to grow as the word about "Orca-live" spreads. For the moment, the maximum simultaneous audience is 100, though it is quite possible more "bandwidth" will be needed to accommodate future interest. (The day after an initial press conference held in Tokyo to announce the idea of the project there were nearly 300,000 "hits" on the site).
It goes without saying that this complicated project would not be possible without extensive support from others, so we want to acknowledge our deep appreciation of the contributions of NTT DATA, NEUX, AXIS, J STREAM, PRO VISION and all the members of the wonderful team that has created & is handling the project. We're especially grateful for the inspired efforts of Soichi (Saul) Ueda. The satellite connection is being managed by Quicklink Communications, & we thank them also.
Let's keep the vision strong!
cheers & our best to you all,
Paul & Helena.