You have GOT to see this! People have asked us for some time now about getting location data on a variety of smaller critters, especially smaller birds, rodents, turtles and reptiles. The wildlife biologists we’ve partnered with for years, met at conferences, and collaborated with have long challenged not only Cellular Tracking Technologies, but ANY manufacturer to do what we have now done. Introducing the CTT® Internet of Wildlife©.
The challenge featured five incredible hurdles:
- Integrate detection capabilities
- Use multiple data transmission options
- Have a full line of transmitter weights
- Maximize the life of the transmitters
- Keep it affordable
The first challenge, integrated detection capabilities, meant having more than one way to capture the tag identifier on our LifeTags and PowerTags. These sub-gram tags use solar only or battery power to broadcast their unique IDs over radio. Not only are we able to detect these with our affordable Base Stations, Nest Box Receivers, Nodes and CTT Locator, but we developed the ability to detect these tags in our larger cases, such as for mammals and larger birds. We have also partnered with Bird Studies Canada to enable the Motus network of receivers to detect CTT LifeTags and PowerTags, providing hundreds of stations around the world to our researchers. This is important because a researcher can not only choose a CTT-only infrastructure in specific locations, but also rely on Motus towers. Additionally, our research partners can get LifeTag and PowerTag detections on animals with larger CTT transmitters which have been outfitted with appropriate receivers. This data is enriched with GPS information on where the detections were made.
The second hurdle we had to cross is making use of the multiple data transmission networks available to wildlife researchers.
CTT pioneered use of the cellular/GSM network for movement data, and using the years of expertise in the related sciences and some new partnerships, we added our own radio receiver infrastructure, the Motus network, and Argos satellite service. (Watch for an important announcement regarding CTT and Argos soon!) We have combined radio and GSM, as well as radio and Argos in operation in field research today, including on terrapins and snakes. The same infrastructure will be used to detect kangaroo rats and wading birds.
Data analysis completes the process, and CTT has a native data portal that is highly regarded and stable. To support researchers who need to integrate with other platforms, we make it easy to get your data in custom, kml and csv formats. Additionally, if you need t connect to Movebank, we make that a one click action.
The remaining challenges- having multiple weights and formats of transmitters, making reliable transmitters and keeping it affordable were no less difficult then the first two.
Like so much in technology manufacturing, we leverage new materials, component capabilities, techniques and ideas to keep the costs and corresponding prices low. In the last year, with the release of our fourth generation transmitter platform, the CTT ES400, our average unit price has fallen 30%. We have also unveiled a student package that is well under $2,000US incorporating our LifeTag and/or PowerTag and the CTT Locator. (Sign up for email and ask for more info.)