Hi everyone! I'm currently working with a small team to develop and deploy custom affordable trackers for crocodiles, and I'm wondering if anyone has advice regarding data transmission.
Our devices will be deployed on free-ranging American crocodiles in Costa Rica this spring and we are uncovering the many challenges involved with remotely monitoring these animals (especially on a budget), with the greatest of all being data communication. My priority is to conduct a behavioral study using GPS and triaxial acceleration / IMU sensor data, which can quickly turn into a large data load that is simple enough to store but difficult and expensive to send via satellite transmission. Right now, we plan that all data will be continuously logged and then off-loaded a few times a day whenever satellite communication is possible.
We are working on 2 prototypes currently, one with an Argos module and one with Iridium. There are pros and cons to both, including limitations on how much data can be sent with Argos and the sheer price of Iridium subscriptions. We are looking for any guidance or input as we continue to moving towards the final versions of our devices. If anyone has any ideas or experiences with these issues, especially using satellite transmission for high frequency acceleration data, I would greatly appreciate hearing it!
Some additional details:
We cannot recapture the animals or invest in the equipment and labor that would be required to retrieve an automatically released device, therefore any logged data must be transmitted. Additionally, no acceleration ethogram has to my knowledge been created for crocodilians yet so we will be training and validating a behavior classification model using captive alligators, however, this may not be ready before our study on wild crocodiles begins, meaning I'm unsure if downsampling or on-board preprocessing of the sensor data would be an option but I'm open to ideas.
Thank you to anyone who can help!
All the best,