Biologists and ecologists often monitor the spread of disease among deer in the wild by using tracking systems that record their movement patterns, locations, and interaction behavior. The existing commercial systems for monitoring wild deer utilize collars with GPS sensors, deployed on captured and rereleased deer. The GPS sensors record location data every few hours, enabling researchers to approximate the interaction behavior of tracked deer with their GPS locations. However, the coarse granularity of periodically recorded GPS location data provides only limited precision for determining deer interaction behavior. We have designed a novel system to monitor wild deer interaction behavior more precisely in harsh wilderness environments. Our system combines the functionalities of both GPS and RF-radio sensors with low-cost and minimal-resource motes. We designed and built our system to be able to operate robustly for a period of up to several months for continual tracking and monitoring of the locations and interaction behaviors of wild deer in harsh environments. We successfully deployed six deer collars on six wild deer that were captured and rereleased in the Soapstone Prairie Natural Area of northern Colorado over a one-month period. In this paper, we describe how we designed and built this system and evaluate its successful operation in a wilderness area.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Control and Systems Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering