An investigation into the design, development, production and support of a wildlife tracking system based on GSM/GPS technologies
Cordier, Jan Adriaan
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The wildlife tracking market can be regarded as a niche market in the worldwide tracking industry. The methods considered for RF wildlife tracking are limited to techniques that can be reconciled with the cost, size and power consumption limitations required by this application. For this reason the primary method of wildlife tracking till recently was still based on an RF beacon transmitter fitted to the animal and a mobile manually operated tracking device that is equipped with a RF receiver. This method of tracking is very time consuming, as the animal is tracked by physically searching for it in the wild, which mostly limits the tracker to focus on one animal at a time. Another method that found limited use in wildlife tracking is GPS positioning combined with communication by means of satellite telemetry. This method of tracking is very expensive, the physical size of the tracking device limits the usage of this system to large animals, and there are to date not an efficient power source to drive this system for a desired period of time without putting undesired stress on the animal. Recent advances in the world of wireless communications resulted in the widespread use of RF tracking based on mobile transceivers that communicate not with a mobile tracking device or with satellites but with the beacons of a fixed installed wireless network. The primary method of positional tracking used in this industry is GPS location based on triangulation, with data communication by means of GSM or an alternative network of fixed RF transmitters. Using the communication capabilities of GSM networks as basis for wildlife tracking enables a level of efficiency, flexibility and cost-effectiveness that cannot be matched by the earlier approaches. As this new approach to wildlife tracking has not been applied in practice before as an integrated part of wildlife management systems, the need existed to investigate the design, development, production and support of a wildlife tracking system that is based on these advances in technology. The results of this method of tracking opened up a whole new dimension in wildlife tracking for research, security and wildlife management, based on the fact that GPS is a global means of determining positional data and GSM is a globally accepted means of data transfer that is expanding each day.
- Engineering