discussion / Community Base  / 29 August 2022

Survey for Doctoral Research on Poaching in Protected Areas

Hello. I am a PhD candidate at Penn State University.  I submitted a post to this group back in March and I am resubmitting because I need additional respondents to meet my minimum for my survey analysis.

I am currently working on my doctoral research on geospatial data synthesis in protected areas for poaching mitigation. I am asking users of this group to participate in a short (approximately 15 minute) online survey.  

This survey will be used toward gaining an understanding of how protected area practitioners make sense of the various forms of data collected at their sites. The survey does not ask any questions of a sensitive nature that could comprise your species.  All survey results (and resulting publications) will be coded, kept confidential, and data will be stored on an encrypted server. 

The link to the survey is:


Please see a short description of my research below: 

Within the field of GI Science, there has been limited progress on characterizing the synthesis of persistent geospatial data within the context of wildlife conservation, or more specifically within poaching mitigation efforts. For the purpose of my research the definition of synthesis is: The process in which practitioners collect, organize, analyze, fuse, and disseminate geospatially referenced digital and analog datasets. This process enables a comprehensive examination of events across time and space.     

My research questions are as follows: 

1. How are spatial data collected, organized, fused, analyzed, and disseminated to support data synthesis within protected area operations centers?    

2. How does protected area personnel knowledge of the landscape and geospatial sensor capabilities translate into anti-poaching action?   

3. Do protected area personnel perceptions of poaching activity affect the placement of anti-poaching sensors?

This research will focus on the utility of geospatial data to mitigate poaching in protected areas.  Specifically, I am focusing on how protected areas synthesize camera trap, UAS, cell phone apps and other digital and analog geospatial data for poaching mitigation. The goal of this research is to characterize the process of geospatial data synthesis within protected area management, as well as to design geospatial sensor networks that could alert protected area personnel of illicit activity and provide the inputs needed to predict future activity.   

​Feel free to ask questions about the survey in this group or email me directly at [email protected]

Thank you for your time.


Wendy L. Zeller Zigaitis

PhD Candidate (ABD)

Department of Geography

Pennsylvania State University