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  Ben at the North Pole

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The battle for the first North Pole video is over
0-2:05 a.m. EDT Apr 21, 2003
The past few years has seen some incredible advances in adventure transmission technology. Whilst it is possible to fly bulky gear almost anywhere in the world for brief, stationary transmissions, it has been impossible to send out multi media from a polar expedition on the move or mountaineering high camps. The gear needed has simply not been light enough. And so expeditions has phoned in dispatches, eventually dotted down by webmasters and illustrated by pre-shot pictures.

This all changed two years ago, as an ExplorersWeb polar expedition used a text message satellite for occasional picture transmissions from an Antarctica expedition. Already the next year, the same expedition used wearable computers for transmissions of daily dispatches and pics. That same year, the expedition repeated the feat, this time on the Arctic Ocean, using palm held computers, small dig cams and clever software.

Next vision was obvious - video! Three North Pole expeditions have battled for the honor this year. The North Pole challenge did the first near real time footage transmission as they stepped of the plane. Then came Ben and made the first near real time video from the actual trek. But the question remained - who would do the first video transmission from the North Pole itself? Jeanette Plummer almost got back on the ice for the mission. The North Pole challenge were first up for some time but got passed by Ben only days ago. And today, the battle is over. Ben reached the North Pole 13.45 GMT April 20, and transmitted a video clip. It's only a second long, but it's the first live polar adventure video in human history from the North Pole. Congratulations to Ben and to the other NP teams participating in this relay for exploration technology. Faster, lighter and without limits. Those are the modern explorers. And such is their technology. Guess we'll just have to see who gets to Mars first, the biggest (NASA) or the swiftest (the explorers). Time will tell.

Image and video courtesy of Ben Saunders

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