Open Source Solutions / Feed

This group is a place to share low-cost, open-source devices for conservation; describe how they are being used, including what needs they are addressing and how they fit in to the wider conservation tech market; identify the obstacles in advancing the capacity of these technologies; and to discuss the future of these solutions - particularly their sustainability and how best to collaborate moving forward.


Global shortage of Raspberry Pis - What are the alternatives

So, there is a global shortage of Raspberry Pis, the open source micro-computer that has been popular amongst open hardware designers and hobbyists alike. Like...

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Hi @tom_august this is a very important topic given the global shortages we are seeing. I tend to use really low power micros rather than Pis for my stuff if I can, but I'd be very interested to hear about alternatives. I take it you are doing some reasonably heavy processing given the need for 4Bs? I have a few old 3s you are welcome to. A great list from @PshemekZ there. I don't know much about these: 

But didn't see them in the list. 

 @Freaklabs will likey have some ideas too. Looking forward to hearing more.



Unfortunately not much to add. I think there was an assumption that Raspberry Pi's would always be available and it's turning out that it's unfortunately not the case. I'm guilty of this for standard chips. I didn't think there'd be such a huge shortage that spread across so many chip families which left us scrambling.  I'm sure the supply crunch will ease up soon so the RasPi shortage should ease. It should be considered thought that should something happen to the Raspberry Pi Foundation, there's a possibility that the production could end. Since Raspberry Pi's are not open source, this would be devastating to many projects that rely on them. 

As for porting to another platform, I guess the question would be which platform to bet on for the Raspberry Pi alternate and possibly eventual successor. It would probably need to be open source, widely available, and have enough community around it to support itself. Nothing immediately comes to mind (Jetson possibly but not open source and subject to whims of nVidia).

And perhaps this could turn into a community project to come up with an open platform that conservation communities can standardize on where availability could also be guaranteed. There's a lot of exciting things happening with the RISC-V architecture, which could be a good candiate.

As an update from us, we are playing around with two alternatives:

  • Banana PI BPI-M5 M5 4GB 4 x 2GHz 
  • Radxa Rock 4 SE 

I'll update once we have results!


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Picking up signal of GPS tag

Hi all! Has anyone been able to collect any ID information from a GPS tag, by circling above with a drone? Thinking about FAD detection at sea.Thanks!

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Thanks Carly! I've been in awe of what Wildlife Drones is doing, but as you say my work at the moment is focussed on existing GPS units rather than telemetry for tracking. I'll still reach out & ask though. Thanks for your help! :)

Hi Kim! Thanks for sharing, this is really interesting! I'll check out the website & see what I can find out about the mechanics of the device. Thanks again!

Hey Sol, 

The only way for you to collect information from a GPS tag attached to a FAD is if that tag transmits that data to the drone. Unfortunately most receiver packages are a bit too large for hobbyist-style drones (from what I've seen). 

Depending on the range/distance from shore, you might be able to have a shore-based receiver system?  

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Software to aid acoustic sound files visualization/labelling + Software to syncronize video/acoustic sonograms

Hi everybody!I am currently trying to figure out if there is any open-source software that could improve our citizen science project on bat monitoring in Europe (and potentially...

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I would also recommend Arbimon. It is well set up to handle Audiomoth recordings. Being cloud based, you will need a good internet connection for sound file upload. I'm just starting to investigate its use for Song Scope recordings. Setting up the call recognisers will be a slow process, but they can be made available to all users once done.

You could try using a video editor like DaVinci for looking at your video and audio together. I don't think DaVinci displays sonograms by default (just waveform) but I think it will open your selected audio in an external editor which would allow you to see the sonograms and make measurements with something like Audacity or Kaleidoscope.

The open-source program Audacity can show the spectrograms and histograms and has quite a lot of other useful features, e.g. playing ultrasound calls slower, so it can be heard by people. 

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Otter video help!

Hello everyone!I have an otter (I'm pretty sure) on a couple videos from two of my trail cameras, is there ANY way I can clear these videos up at all?  I have tried but I...

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Hi Britnee!

Thanks for posting your question. What format is your video currently in? I might be able to help you convert it so it can be shared here.

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How To Use An Arduino – Beginners Guide

For anyone interested in WILDLABS' Build Your Own Data Logger course, this beginner's guide to Arduino may be a valuable resource! This page also includes links to other relevant resources on Arduino language and getting started with Arduino software for the first time.


Conservation Technology Research Internship

Boost cons tech capacity at an international NGO! Fauna & Flora International is offering a paid three-month internship to consolidate and share best practices for the application of emerging hardware and software...

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How can open source tools make conservation tech more sustainable and accessible?

Open source tools help our community think of creative solutions, share resources, and make conservation tech tools more affordable and accessible for everyone. All of that...

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I've been working with a current visiting scholar who's from China and has been interested in getting started with some acoustic monitoring studies when he goes back to China later this year. I've been working with him to try to figure out some options (with some help from folks met through Wildlabs!) but the name-brand stuff from Wildlife Acoustics is more than double what it would be in the states once customs and imports and exchange rates are taken into account. Open-source solutions that can be manufactured on the ground in countries where we're trying to do work can avoid many of those costs, support local economies, and even be good for the environment to the extent that you're avoiding the (minimal but non-zero) emissions of shipping stuff all over the place.

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Self-powered Buoy collecting vital sensor data -- Looking for conservation projects to collaborate with

Hey all! I work for a company called Sofar Ocean Technologies that is doing really cool work in the ocean conservation world and I'm interested in getting them to collaborate more...

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Hello Aadithya,

Excited to hear about your marine acoustics outreach. I am interested to explore the possibilities of collaborative work on this line.

One of my doctoral scholars is about to submit his thesis on terrestrial acoustic studies. Please respond to [email protected] (as I may likely miss responses if any, send to this group). 



Hi Jaishanker, I just reached out to over email, apologies for the delay. We are interested in working with underwater hydrophones and this might be of use in your specific case study. Bristlemouth's timeline is still being created, but we're hoping to have devkits ready closer to the end of this year. I'm happy to chat more to learn about the specific research you are doing and how we can best help!

If you're looking to identify collaborators - probably lots of organizations listed in the Conservation Tech Directory would be interested (quick prelim search yields orgs like Echospace, European Tracking Network, FACT network, IMOS, IOOS, other tracking networks like that, USA's NEON, eOceans, Oceans+)! Also org's like Blue Ventures, Save our Seas (run acoustic tracking array), MBON (run Biotrack) come to mind. 

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Apply to the 2022 GOSH Gathering in Panamá!

The Gathering for Open Science Hardware (GOSH) community is excited to announce that applications to attend the 2022 GOSH Gathering are now open! The Gathering will be held at...

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There are only a few days left to apply to the 2022 Gathering for Open Science Hardware! Join a community of scientists, hardware developers, artists, and activists working together on open hardware for science!

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Deep Learning for Marine Ecology and Conservation

arXiv (Journal)
This article provides a review of deep learning (predominantly ML) used in marine ecology and considerations for its future directions in conservation. In plain language, the authors provide a methodology for training...

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Identification of Wildlife in Camera Trap Images

MDPI (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute - Journal)
Camera trap wildlife surveys can generate vast amounts of imagery. A key problem in the wildlife ecology field is that vast amounts of time is spent reviewing this imagery to identify the species detected. Valuable...

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How do I get started with OpenCollar Edge Trackers?

Tim van Dam
In this Tech Tutors episode, Tim van Dam, answers the question, How do I get started with OpenCollar Edge Trackers? In this episode, Tim will introduce the OpenCollar edge trackers and give a live demo of how the new...

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How do I turn a conservation tech project into a product?

Shah Selbe
In this Tech Tutors episode, Shah Selbe answered the question, How do I turn a conservation tech project into a product? In this episode, he discusses how to scale an innovative conservation tech project into a product...

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What would an open source conservation technology toolkit look like?

Hi. We've had a nice discussion about this topic in a different thread and I wanted to break it out into...

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Hi Akiba, [not sure if I'm on the right thread]

The Open-Source Tech Toolkit would need a repository for designs & specifcations. Regarding the latter, I'm a Technical Editor for a specification company. The format we use for the architecture & construction industry is suitable for any discipline [e.g. teaching students how to write a spec using our format/proforma they're given a task to write "how to tie their shoe laces"].

A specification defines qualities & standards (e.g. ISO, IEC). Drawings illustrate locations & quantity. Drawings are normally referenced back to the specification clauses.

I'd like to write an example of a specification for the Wildlogger, which will cover the many options for sensors, including references to approved/tested sensors and [if necessary] how they should be calibrated.

Looking over the horizon, what is the best repository for such Toolkit drawings and specifications?

If demand was large enough, and funding available, the company I work for could host the specifications and I'd maintain them full-time: There would be many advantages using our database over MS Word-based system.


Best Regards,




Hi Nigel. 
That's a very kind offer. I think currently github is the main repository I use for those kinds of documents. I like your idea and it'd be great to expand WildLogger out to a full featured data logger. The original intent of the design was as an educational tool to learn the programming concepts, but I didn't expect that people would deploy them in actual scientific applications. It's really cool. 

As for specs and hosting, I'd actually prefer to keep them on github which is a popular platform and gets around the funding side of things. I've dealt with formal software specs and requirements in a previous corporate life but I think the scope of many of the projects we are undertaking is small enough that formal specs might not be needed. For the scale you're thinking, you might want to discuss with the Society for Conservation Biology or the larger organizations that are trying to plan out a roadmap for conservation biology. 


Hi Akiba,

Just found out from the marketing dept at my work the cost to host multiple specs - very expensive [$NZ 7K-10K].

Host it on GitHub for starters then. I'm a newbie to GitHub, so it's an opportunity to become familiar with it.

I'll begin by drafting a specification for the the Wildlogger with various peripherals/sensors other groups are testing for different scientific applications. It would be a standalone document in MS Word with hyperlinks to other docs, electronics suppliers, methodologies e.g. for calibrating sensors etc.

The doc will evolve over time, no doubt inform future development for the Wildlogger, possibly resulting in new variants. Knowledge won't be lost in the ether.


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