WILDLABS Virtual Meetup Series 2018-19

The WILDLABS Virtual Meetup Series is a program of webinars that bring leading engineers in the tech sector together with conservation practitioners to share information, identify obstacles, and discuss how to best move forward. 

The next virtual meetup in the series will be on Wednesday, Dec 12th from 3:00pm-4:00pm GMT / 10:00am-11:00am EST. The topic of this meetup will be Big Data in Conservation. Dave Thau, Data and Technology Global Lead Scientist at WWF-US, Sarah Davidson, Data Curator at Movebank, and Dan Morris, Principal Researcher in the AI for Earth program at Microsoft, will be joining us as speakers. Their talks will be followed by open discussion and community exchange. 

To join, register here

Published Date: 2018/11/01

Introduction

The WILDLABS Virtual Meetup Series is a program of webinars for community members and wider partners to discuss emerging topics in conservation technology and leverage existing community groups for virtual exchange. The aim of the series is to bring leading engineers in the tech sector together with conservation practitioners to share information, identify obstacles, and discuss how to best move forward.

The series will begin in late 2018, to be continued in 2019, and will be hosted on WILDLABS via Zoom. The three topics to be covered in 2018 include Networked Sensors for Security and Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC) Prevention, Next-Generation Wildlife Tracking, and Big Data in Conservation. The first two topics center around data collection, on wildlife populations through tracking and on protected areas and community boundaries through networked sensors, while the third topic tackles how to most effectively utilize that data.

There is a lively discussion about possible topics members would like to have space to discuss, so if you have ideas for future meetups please join the thread and share your thoughts. 

Outcomes

  1. Bring conservation and tech leaders into conversation beyond siloed groups and efforts
  2. Identify obstacles and ways forward

Format

  1. Welcome and introductions (5 min)
  2. Opening speaker – current tech landscape (10 min)
  3. Engineer and conservation practitioner speed talks (10 min each)
  4. Q&A discussion (20 min)
  5. Optional ongoing discussion and community exchange (30 min)
  6. Take-aways and wrap up (5 min)

 

meetup 1: Networked Sensors for Security and HWC Prevention 

Date & Time

Wednesday, November 7th, 2:00pm-3:00pm GMT/ 9:00am-10:00am EST 

Background & Need 

Much of today’s human-wildlife conflict could be mitigated by the early detection of unwelcome wildlife in human areas. Likewise, security threats to species at risk of poaching could be reduced by the early detection of unwelcome humans in wildlife areas. Sensors equip a range of tools to enhance monitoring capacity for conservation, and when networked, hold the potential to revolutionize such early warning systems. There are currently numerous endeavors underway to implement networked sensors in both protected area security and HWC prevention, from efforts to secure parks and protected areas from poaching such as the Wildlife Crime Technology Project to those implementing LoRa-based integrated fencing networks such as the winners of the 2017 HWC Tech Challenge. Groups working in this arena from the WILDLABS community and beyond will benefit from a centralized discussion to help identify points of overlap, potential collaboration opportunities, and remaining gaps to be addressed. 

Outcomes 

The aims of this discussion are as follows: to introduce networked sensors in the context of conservation; to describe how they are being used for conservation, including what needs they are addressing in conservation practice and how different approaches fit together; to identify the obstacles in advancing the capacity of these technologies from both field and tech perspectives; and to discuss the future of networked sensors, including the sustainability of their applications and how best to collaborate moving forward. 

Agenda 

  • Welcome and introductions (5 min) 
  • Eric Becker, Conservation Technology Engineer, World Wildlife Fund (10 min)  
  • Laurens de Groot, Co-Founder, SmartParks (10 min)
  • Dr. Jan-Kees Schakel, Founder and CEO, Sensing Clues (10 min) 
  • Q&A discussion (15 min) 
  • Community exchange – asks and offers from any participants (5 min) 
  • Take-aways and wrap up (5 min) 

Recording and Notes 

WILDLABS Virtual Meetup Link to Video Recording

Click through here to watch the full meetup. Written notes capturing highlights from the session are available here

Feedback

If you attended or have watched the recording, please take this quick survey to give us feedback so that we can improve future events.

Meetup 2: Next-Generation Wildlife Tracking

Date & Time

Tuesday, November 20th

Main Talks: 2:00-3:00pm GMT / 9:00-10:00am EST

Additional half hour for discussion: 3:00-3:30pm GMT / 10:00-10:30 EST

Background & Need

Effective wildlife management requires good population data – knowing where, when, and why populations move is key to protecting them. For decades, most wildlife tracking has depended upon trackers that deliver telemetry to the Argos satellite system. While this current system has proven valuable for protecting some species, it has been less practical for others, including many of those in marine environments, and its effectiveness is limited by restrictions in coverage, accuracy, and data capacity. New technologies on the horizon include small satellites like CubeSats, which are being investigated by NASA, the ICARUS Initiative’s recently launched satellite system, and a variety of other ventures aiming to improve the coverage, accuracy, and capacity of wildlife tracking data collection. As most of these innovations are still in the early stages of development or deployment, it is an important time to identify how these distinct efforts fit together while fulfilling different conservation needs.

Groups working in this arena from the WILDLABS community and beyond will benefit from a centralized discussion to help identify points of overlap, potential collaboration opportunities, and remaining gaps to be addressed. 

Outcomes

The aims of this discussion are as follows: to introduce next-gen wildlife tracking technologies in the context of conservation; to describe how they are being used for conservation, including what needs they are addressing in conservation practice and how different approaches fit together; to identify the obstacles in advancing the capacity of these technologies from both field and tech perspectives; and to discuss the future of wildlife tracking tech, including the sustainability of its applications and how best to collaborate moving forward.

Agenda

  • Welcome and introductions (5 min) 
  • Christian Rutz, Founding President of the International Bio-Logging Society (10 min)
  • Virginie Perilhon, Product Manager at Xerius Tracking (10 min)
  • Jake Levenson, Co-Founder & Executive Director of Oceans Forward; Marine Biologist for U.S. Department of the Interior (10 min)
  • Q&A discussion with speakers (20 min)
  • Optional ongoing discussion and community exchange (30 min)
  • Take-aways and wrap up (5 min) 

 

Recording and Notes

WILDLABS Virtual Meetup Link to Tracking Video Recording

(Click through here to watch the full meetup). Written notes capturing highlights from the session are available here

Feedback

If you attended or have watched the recording, please take this quick survey to give us feedback so that we can improve future events.

Meetup 3: Big Data in Conservation

Date & Time

Wednesday, December 12th

Main Talks: 3:00-4:00pm GMT / 10:00-11:00am EST

Additional half hour for discussion: 4:00-4:30pm GMT / 11:00-11:30 EST

Background & Need

With new technologies revolutionizing data collection, wildlife researchers are becoming increasingly able to collect data at much higher volumes than ever before. Now we are facing the challenges of putting this information to use, bringing the science of big data into the conservation arena. With the help of machine learning tools, this area holds immense potential for conservation practices. The applications range from online trafficking alerts to species-specific early warning systems to efficient movement and biodiversity monitoring and beyond.

However, the process of building effective machine learning tools depends upon large amounts of standardized training data, and conservationists currently lack an established system for standardization. Therefore, how to best develop such a system and incentivize data sharing are questions at the forefront of this work. There are currently multiple AI-based conservation initiatives, including Wildlife Insights and WildBook, that are pioneering applications on this front. Building upon our two previous virtual meetups, as well as recent conversations taking place within the broader conservation tech community, this discussion will address current efforts, illustrate how they fit together, and frame them within these broader questions about the future of big data in conservation.

Outcomes

The aims of this discussion are as follows: to introduce the technologies used for processing big data in the context of conservation; to describe how they are being used for conservation, including what needs they are addressing in conservation practice and how different approaches fit together; to identify the obstacles in advancing the capacity of these technologies from both field and tech perspectives; and to discuss the future of big data tech, including the sustainability of its applications and how best to collaborate moving forward.

Agenda

  • Welcome and introductions (5 min)
  • Dave Thau, Data and Technology Global Lead Scientist at WWF-US (10 min)
  • Sarah Davidson, Data Curator at Movebank (10 min)
  • Dan Morris, Principal Researcher, Microsoft - AI for Earth (10 min)
  • Q&A discussion with speakers (20 min)
  • Optional ongoing discussion and community exchange (30 min)
  • Take-aways and wrap up (5 min)

Registration

To join, register here.