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In the near future (1-2 years) it is of highest priority to enable measurements with as many stations as possible, given the present budget and staff. This implies no major upgrades, and only performing a selection of the most critical maintenance tasks as discussed above. To increase the time for analysis and publication of data, as well as for performing the necessary upgrades and maintenance, it might be an option to increase the student involvement in the observations, as well as in some software development and data-analysis.

The fate (i.e. funding) of ALIS in a longer perspective is directly dependent on what actions are taken in the upcoming 1-3 years. A stable core-group with thorough scientific and technical experience from ALIS operations is without doubt the most critical component.

A longer perspective

Given a sustained and increased funding in the future, upgrading (or replacing) the imagers is required in a longer perspective. Also all obsolete systems at the stations need to be replaced. The next step would probably be to expand ALIS towards Tromsø with station (9) Frihetsli (Figure 2.4 and Table 2.3) and possibly near the EISCAT site at Ramfjordmoen, as well as equipping the existing stations (7) Kilvo and (8) Nytorp with instruments. For such new stations a tentative block-diagram appears in Figure D.2.
Figure D.2: For future new stations, the SC is replaced by an new HU, which might have a cell-phone interface for emergency operation. The imager is controlled by a dedicated computer, and the dial-up line is replaced by a high-speed Internet connection.
It must also not be forgotten that the GLIPs are capable of housing several other instruments of various types (Section 2.1). Such instruments could include imaging spectrometers, dedicated cloud cameras, colour imagers for auroral imaging (Appendix C), magnetometers, riometers, ionosondes, etc.

Another issue is that as the stations become networked over permanent Internet connections, there will be no need for a dedicated control centre as illustrated in Figure D.3.

Figure D.3: A decentralised future ALIS: As the ALIS stations will most likely gain permanent Internet access in the future, the functions of the control centre will be decentralised to the stations. Connections to other stations, as well as other instruments (exemplified by EISCAT and a satellite) can then also be initiated as required.
Given an internationally-standardised set of interfaces, any collection of instruments could be quickly enrolled into simultaneous observations of a particular phenomena.

In the future perhaps scientific instruments will be placed on a standardised General Instrument Platform (GIP), which can be either ground-based, airborne, or placed on a spacecraft. Networks of such GIPs could then be spontaneously created, configured and controlled for specific scientific studies. Developing such ideas might enhance the availability and usage of the existing plethora of scientific instrumentation, in the same way as the world-wide-web enhanced simplified Internet usage.

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