discussion / Biologging  / 27 February 2021

NomaTrack and the LoRa-DTN protocol

I just stumbled upon this report on using LoRa in Reindeer husbandry in Scandinavia wich could be useful for wildlife uses too.

"The NomaTrack design combines the LoRa‐DTN protocol with a set of unique equipment units. The equipment set consists of the units base station, reindeer GPS collar, and portable node. Drones are utilized to create line‐of‐sight. With this set reindeer positions are tracked. Real‐ life on‐site tests integrated in herding operations were essential. They involved Jåhkågaska, Sirges, Tuorpon and Udtja Sámi Villages in Norrbotten, Sweden. In the concluding tests November‐December 2020 the deployed network extended reindeer tracking beyond regular infra structure and connectivity with approximately 300 units. The system remainsin use after the project ended. From mid‐November totally 5000 or up to more than 6000 bundles were delivered daily. Into January the number of active nodes in the LoRA‐DTN has been about 145 to 180 per day. The NomaTrack connectivity concept offers an opportunity for messaging. During the project here reported, the design of such a service was drafted. Development of the messaging function will commence during 2021."



Very interesting! There has been a few projects - I think Open Collars has used this as well as Adam Ford from UBCO in Canada. 

One of the largest challenges is the different country-by-country regulations on drone use. Research in some countries is commercial use and requires a commercial drone pilot's license - most countries prohibit autonomous or beyond-line-of-sight fligt. Likely both will get will easier as regulations adjust to technology.

LoRA raw materials are very cheap. Depending on study goals and animals deploying stationary Lora base stations to download LoRA data locally and then connection through cell or satellite from the base station. 

Yes I've been talking with a few different people about how to set up a LoRA gateway and network of stations to pull data from acoustic monitors or camera traps. I'm very much on the conservation side of conservation tech though, so I have very minimal experience in the engineering and computer science side of things! I work in Madagascar and I'm not exactly sure what their regulations are (it may be difficult to find out too...).