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Welcome to the Webcast Technology

Scuba Guy's Welcome (Real Media)

Webcast Platform (Real Media)

Map of United States

Coming to Houston and Going to the Gulf

People and equipment came from all over Texas and North America to Houston. Those bound for the platform in the Gulf went on to Louisana, where they boarded a ship or helicopter to the platform.

A customized waterproof camera housing came from Canada; Satellite equipment operators from Massachusetts; Specially designed sound system and operators from Illinois; Underwater photographer from Georgia; Scientific Diver from Corpus Christi; Students from El Paso, Laredo, Colorado City, Austin, Van Vleck and Palacious... Media and computer production team from Austin... all to bring this webcast to you.

Platform in the Gulf

To See and Hear Our Diver

Three teams were stationed at the platform.One team was underwater, including the diver, photograher and cable handlers. The second team was stationed on the second level to operate the sound system. All the team members could communicate, but we could only hear the diver and host's voices.

The third team on the top level included a video producer, camera operator, satellite transmission crew, someone on a phone with Houston to relay questions from the chatroom, and our host, who passed your questions on to the diver. The video producer switched between the underwater and up-top cameras so we could see both the host and the diver. The satellite crew uplinked the audio and video through mobile equipment stationed on the deck.

Satellite Transmission

Getting a Webcast to You

The PBS station in Houston, KUHT, downlinked the satellite transmission to their control room. In their TV studio, another 40 people were set up with demonstrations to tell you more about the importance of water, rivers, and the Gulf.

This video and the satellite transmission was sent to several encoding computers set up at the studio. The computers sent the video to servers in Austin (Texas Parks and Wildlife), College Station (Texas A&M), one at University of Houston, and another to NASA in California. One more signal was sent via fiber optic cable to a server in Oklahoma (ibeam.com). Each server then streamed the signal over the web to your computer.

Broadcasting all over the world

To Hear from You

People from all over Texas, the USA and even other countries watched the webcast. What was really important is that you be able to ask your questions. You joined in a chatroom by sending your questions to a chatroom server at NASA in California, which sent those messages to our moderator who was in Houston. The moderator posted questions by sending the good questions back to California. Experts all over Texas answered those questions from their office computers by sending the answers back to California.

To get questions to the diver, the moderator read the best questions over the phone to someone on the platform in the Gulf, who then passed them to the host, who then was able to relay them tothe diver (this is the part you heard). You could also hear the diver directly answer your questions. This was beamed to the satellite, retrieved in Houston, sent over computer lines back to you!

All this beaming around happened with only a 9 - 11 second delay! What a trip!

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