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Day 6

Finally the weather improves and Trond takes the time to go exploring. It’s really weird – Svalbard is mostly empty, few plants, no trees or bushes, no animals except birds and the odd fox or reindeer (unless you happen to be in the right spot you’re unlikely to see a polar bear), but when you do stumble upon a pile of garbage or a smashed cottage to testify of human presence it’s a protected cultural heritage site. It can certainly be magnificent, but mostly it’s very – well – empty…


Trond lost on the beach with some driftwood.


A protected cultural heritage site…

ImageTrond scanning a cultural heritage site.


Midnight in Ny-Ålesund

Nice view of Ny-Ålesund at midnight!



Day 5

Espen has borrowed a rifle and is finally able to get out for a walk by himself, while Trond is taking hundreds of highres photos to try out the latest photogrammetry solutions from Autodesk – ReCap Photo – which can take a series of photos shot in a particular manner and turn it into a 3D mesh or pointcloud. This technique is already turning the world of 3D scanning upside down, not only making it available to everyone (without having to lug around bulky and expensive gear) but also changing what can be scanned and how.



Ny-Ålesund Radio seen from above. Scanning a building presents some interesting challenges because to get enough photos from all angles you need to get up above the building. Standing on top of a tall ladder while holding the camera high above my head on a monopod I manage to get the shots I need, but it’s fairly time-consuming to get all around the building and it looks rather quirky – a shipload of tourists seem to find it amusing and shoot pictures of me shooting pictures…

Day 4 , Separation

Today Trond is leaving for Kings Bay and Espen is staying in Longyearbyen. Trond is going to visit the Ny-Ålesund Radio which is being restored by the Telenor Cultural Heritage program and do some 3D scanning of the building, the site and surroundings.


The plane is being prepared in the hangar. No other passengers in sight so far.

ImageTrond is being flown by private plane to Kings Bay – no other passengers at all!:) The plane takes off 90 minutes before schedule due to fog arriving from the north – if the weather gets worse they might not be able to land.

ImageDespite the warnings about bad weather the flight goes smoothly, and the view of the glacier is quite spectacular.

ImageFirst view of Kings Bay from the beach – not too bad!


Day 3 , Guns and ammo

Jan Martin Berg took us to the shooting range today, training for a possible polar bear encounter. Hopefully this will never happen, but good to be on the safe side. This also making it possible for us to walk freely into the wild. The gun we used was an old german mauser from the second world war. We also practiced shooting with a signal gun. The theory is to scare off the bear with this first, and as a last resort using the rifle.


Theory first of course.


Exited artists, ready for action


A polar bear at a distance of 30 to 40 meters is a last resort distance Jan Martin tells us. Be quick to reload, polar bears are obviously fast runners.


Ready, aim, fire!

Day 2 , Settling in


Boss man at Galleri Svalbard, Jan Martin Berg, super friendly and helpful guy driving us to the airport to pick up the old telecommunications gear we sent up from Oslo after finding them in the Telemuseum’s magazine at Fetsund.


Moving in to the studio we were assigned in Galleri Svalbard , excited to see if the old communications gear was still working after transport.


And the beat frequency oscillator was still alive! Humming on frequencies between 0 and 20 000 Hertz. Having problems reviving the morse apparatus we sent up though.


What is this crazy place in the north! Walking on one of the few asphalt roads clinging to that urban feeling.


Nice to see even graffiti  has embraced the culture at 78 degrees north.


The old coalmining transport systems stretching through most of longyearbyen’s infrastructure.

Day 1 – arrival

Arrived in Longyearbyen just before midnight, slightly bewildered but intent on conquest! Between the two of us we’ve brought a handheld laser 3D scanner, an Ultimaker 3D printer, four computers, GoPro and SLR cameras and a Beat Frequency Oscillator (BFO) from the fifties courtesy of Telemuseet (the telecommunications museum in Oslo, Norway).