discussion / Biologging  / 6 August 2020

Introducing the Terrapin Tracker project

I would like to introduce the Terrapin Tracker project: https://conservationx.com/project/key/terrapintracker

This project was recently selected as a finalist for the Con X Tech Prize so we are in a rapid development phase until mid-October to improve upon our prototype tracker. The goal of the project is to develop a lightweight, low power consumption tracker that can be used for relatively light (>200 g) animals. The primary components of the tracker are a GNSS receiver and a LoRa radio transceiver. The initial goal is to track diamondback terrapins (DBT, Malaclemys terrapin) but the tracker can be adapted to other taxa. This system is best adapted to animals with a range of a few kilometers square where real-time and relatively precise (+/- a few meters) location data is needed.

We are documenting the many components and tests and posting content to the Conservation X Labs project page and also our GitHub repository: https://github.com/nedhorning/TerrapinTracker. Our approach is to make each of the LoRaWAN component workflows accessible to non-experts so other people can assemble a tracking network that is best suited for their application.

Some of the components and tests we are working on at the moment include:

  • Adapt a Gnat miniature GNSS/LoRa asset tracker for tracking animals
  • Develop a waterproof enclosure for the tracker
  • Test use of single and multiple LoRaWAN gateways using Raspberry Pi (RPi) 3+ (with and without LTE) and Zero with RAKWireless LoRa concentrators
  • Test use of the ChirpStack open source LoRaWAN Network Server stack installed in different configurations including; all components installed on a single RPi, Only the Gateway-Bridge installed on the RPi and the other components on a remote server, All ChirpStack components installed on a remote server.
  • Implement solar power charging for the tracker (extending life) and gateway (remote deployments)
  • Determine when the LoRa and GNSS antennas are above/below water
  • Test different antennas for the tracker LoRa and GNSS as well as the LoRa gateway
  • Test feasibility of a mobile gateway (e.g., walking, drone) as opposed to a static gateway
  • Test different server and database configurations to store and provide access to tracker data
  • Test use of cellular/satellite modems for remote deployments with no Internet access

Please reach out if you have an interest in contributing or simply want to follow along.

All the best,