Trimble are sponsoring a National Geographic-funded scientific and exploratory expedition currently underway in Gabon, West Central Africa.
The six-week expedition, ‘The Search for Gabon’s Sacred Rain Forest Caves,’ seeks to obtain full World Heritage Site status for the caves from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
As one of the team’s sponsors, Trimble are providing the expedition with a Trimble Nomad rugged handheld computer with Global Positioning System (GPS) capability.
The expedition team, which includes National Geographic Young Explorer grantee Trevor Frost, is using the Nomad while canvassing the dense rain forest in search of caves, archaeological discoveries and new species.
Specifically, the team is using the Nomad to mark cave entrances and rock-carved petroglyphs as well as the locations of new species and other important discoveries and for mapping cave-rich limestone areas known as karst.
The area the expedition is exploring is a wild and biologically diverse intact region and also supports one of the last populations of indigenous Pygmies in Africa. One of the goals of the expedition is to help the Gabonese authorities who plan to request World Heritage Site status from UNESCO to preserve and protect the sacred caves in the Lastoursville and Ndende regions of Gabon.
The Nomad is designed for all-day operation in extreme outdoor and industrial environments. It meets MIL-STD-810F military standards for drops, vibration and temperature extremes. Impervious to water and dust, it also carries an IP67 rating.
The Nomad includes an 806 MHz processor, a long-life battery, integrated wireless capabilities including GPS, 802.11g and Bluetooth, and the option to add an integrated laser bar code scanner and a color digital camera. The Nomad also features a high-resolution, sunlight-visible VGA display that shows graphics and maps in crisp detail.
The Search for Gabon’s Sacred Rain Forest Caves expedition
The expedition’s goal is to complete a major multidisciplinary scientific exploration of Central African rain forest caves. It involves visiting three of Gabon’s cave areas, where the team will survey, photograph, film and complete scientific studies in each cave they encounter.
The scientific studies include paleoclimatic reconstructions, archaeological investigations and biodiversity surveys, led by Dr. Lee White of the Wildlife Conservation Society and Dr. Richard Oslisly of the Institut de Recherche pour le Developpement. Photos, video and writing from the expedition will be used to produce stories of the adventure for the decision-makers at UNESCO as well as the general public in Gabon and abroad.