The project will make significant progress in design and use of camera traps, in for example the same way that GPS technology has changed the way we study movement. The project is driving evolution in both technology and ecological practice through carefully considered research combined with active engagement of stakeholders in the analysis and appraisal of the results.

Results of the activities are being distributed in each phase. In the final phase, an analysis will be provided to inform and inspire stakeholders as well as members of the public thereby capitalizing on both stakeholder and technology dimensions of the work. Throughout the project, papers will disseminate specific results at conferences as well as in journals.

The outcomes of the project will be evaluated from two complimentary, but contrasting, perspectives:

  1. From a NRC perspective, the evaluation will explore how the digital technology can change the way environmental management of rural upland environments is performed. The results will be evaluated by the stakeholders for each scenario to assess the impact on future practice and policy. The lessons learned and opportunities provided will also be disseminated to other prospective users of non-invasive monitoring techniques.
  2. From a Digital Technology perspective, the methods will combine state-of-the-art equipment with new algorithms for video capture, compression and data transmission. Use of the methods at the remote location will provide practical data to understand the design space and potential benefits. This will be supplemented by simulation and analysis in Aberdeen and balanced by meetings with users to understand the implications of the work on future systems.

The final phase of work focuses on drawing conclusions that are transferable to other application domains.

Performance Studies

Effect of Height/Tilt on Sensors Activations

A series of field tests with Cameras 1B and 1C suggested that the height and angle of the sensors (PIR and X-band radar) effect the sensor’s activation. This phenomenon was important to understand because it can be used to eliminate false triggers that would otherwise result in redundant data being generated by the sensors and cameras. The study concluded that a height of about 180cm (with a tilt of sensors as 68 degrees) is optimum to avoid false activations due to moving grass/bushes in front of the camera.

Performance Test of the In house Camera Trap

An extensive comparative study using version Cameras 1C and a commercial unit is under way examining a range of operating environments. Environmental factors like sun, fog, rain and wind are being monitored to determine their effect on operability of deployed units. The results are likely to provide insights to tackle the issue of false triggering.

The research described here is supported by the award made by the RCUK Digital Economy programme to the dot.rural Digital Economy Hub; award reference: EP/G066051/1.