Time for a quick update as our team is working at full speed to have our first open source elephant tracker ready by the end of March.
As you might know, we are working on OpenCollar, an open-source modular animal-tracking collar system for environmental and wildlife monitoring projects.
The design of the tracking collar will be completely modular and it will be possible to combine the modules into several different configurations, depending on the use-case, which will enable wildlife experts to use the collar on a wide range of different animals. The first step will be development of a tracking collar that will be used for elephant tracking, with the modules developed suitable for later modification and use with other animals as well.
Figure 1: Components and modules of the OpenCollar tracking system (Picture can be found below)
We’ve already had a design session, where we went over existing solutions and experience with them to better understand what is needed in the field, what features of the existing collars work, and what are the main problems that need to be solved.
To speed up the development process, we will use Arribada Initiative’s GPS tracker as a starting point, the same electronics that are used in PitStop GPS Tags for tracking of the endangered green sea turtles. It is a tested and proven well-made solution that already features GPS, Bluetooth, very good software support and a robust waterproof enclosure. We will be adding LoRaWAN connectivity and customizing the enclosure to create an all-around GPS tracker. Also, batteries and a collar belt will be added, suitable for elephant tracking.
Figure 2: Arribada Initiative’s GPS tracker (Check out the picture below)
The first version of the tracking collar will feature a GPS and an accelerometer with LoRaWAN, LoRaWAN-to-space and Bluetooth connectivity. The customizability will enable more sensors, connectivity and add-ons to be added later. The goal is to develop a system that will empower researchers, conservationists and wildlife experts, and give them a solution, custom-fit to their needs.
Open-source technologies and sharing of knowledge have the potential of improving the monitoring of species to achieve a greater impact.
Like we said, at the end of March we'll be testing our first prototype, so stay tuned!