FAST AND accurate transfer of data is proving critical to an investigation in a remote mountain range in the former Soviet Union state of Georgia.
The investigation, for a 240km pipeline linking gas reserves in the Caspian Sea to Turkey, is being carried out by consultant URS Dames and Moore for BP Exploration.
Engineering design is running parallel to the investigation, so rapid transfer of data is vital. But because the mountains, - which are up to 4000m high - are so remote, the investigation team can be isolated in the field for weeks at a time.
Communication is achieved by keeping all data in electronic format and transferring it via a database linked to a geographic information system (GIS).
A number of drilling rigs are working in two teams on the project. Boreholes are logged on to laptop computers in the field, cores digitally photographed and a mobile laboratory carries out classification testing.
Mobile satellite telephones are then used to email the field information to the project control office in the Georgian capital Tbilisi, where it is checked and approved before being emailed to London.
As the laboratory results are generated, the borehole logs are re-examined and, where necessary, amended.
When the information is received in London it is loaded on to a secure website, providing designers with up-to-date and detailed information on the progress of the work and the technical information being retrieved on site.