REAL-TIME MOOSE TRACKING: AN INTERNET BASED MAPPING APPLICATION USING GPS/GSM-COLLARS IN SWEDEN
To date, moose (Alces alces) tracking has relied on techniques either based on ‘Very High Frequency’ (VHF) / ‘Ultra High Frequency’ (UHF) radio collars, or Global Positioning System (GPS) collars, often requiring significant effort in the field to collect data. Here we present a technique that automatically tracks and reports moose in almost real time, and presents moose positions and movement paths with an interactive web-based map service. We equipped 25 female moose with GPS/GSM collars in Västerbotten county, northern Sweden. The GPS receivers acquired a position every 30 minutes and transmitted them after 3.5 hours as a standard Short Messaging Service (SMS) message using the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) cell phone network. The positions were automatically extracted from the receiving local GSM-modem and stored in a database. During 18 days in March 2003, 18,638 GPS positions were transmitted by 2,719 SMS messages. Of all positioning attempts 98.1% resulted in a valid position, whereof 99.7% were 3-dimensional positions. The real-time approach allows for many new research studies; e.g., smallscale migrational studies with adapted GPS schedules for different phases of migration. Further, public access to the moose data by a web-based map can be of fundamental importance for public acceptance when dealing with local concerns.
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