discussion / Biologging  / 23 May 2017

Xerius tracking technology

If you are interested in hearing about what they do, then drop me a line as you are welcome to attend the meeting with them in Cambridge this Friday 26th May.

The website is below and they produce an array of tags and associated equipment.


Hi everybody,

I'm participating in a tracking study of American flamingos with colleagues from Yucatan, Mexico. We decided to use Xerius' Alteos-26g.

I create a 3D model of the tags to test harness designs.  Note that I designed the model from pictures I found on Xerius' website and from outside LxHxW dimensions given to me by Xerius. The model, though it has the general shape of a Xerius device, is only a rough estimation of the actual device. I will share a finer model once I have the tags in hand.

The model is attached to this message as a .pdf file (alteos26_3d.pdf; Wildlabs only allows certain file formats): you need to change the format to .skp and open it in SketchUp 2016. The model can be printed in 3D (in the US, I recommend 3Dhubs.com) using the file alteos26_for_3d_print.pdf: you need to change the format to .stl (see below for other recommendations).

The 3D print will need to be sanded to smoothen the edges and to get the soft angles of the original Xerius design. I also designed the tags with a hole where the solar panels should be: this is to add weight (metals nuts and bolts) to reach a final mass of 26g. I then patched the hole with Sugru (5g packet).



PS: .skp files can be turned to .stl files for free on https://cloud.materialise.com/ (10 uploads allowed with a free account). The website also allows to "repair" 3D models, decrease number of triangles, check wall width, etc.

alteos26_3d.pdf alteos26_for_3d_print.pdf

Thanks for sharing these Yvan - really interesting to see your process of designing harnesses for the tags. Please do keep us updated on the project as you progress. What made you go with the Xerius tag over others that are available?  

My other comments are largely administrative, so bare with me. Sounds like it might be helpful for us to enable more types of files to be shared on WILDLABS- I'll have a look into this. Your contribution has shifted the direction of this conversation from an event invitation to practical project/information sharing discussion, so I'm also going to move this conversation into our wildlife tracking group, as I think this will make it more readily accessible to our tracking focused members if/when you update it with your finessed designs. 


Hi Steph,

My colleagues chose Xerius because they had the fastest turn-around time (the project had a late start and birds are starting to migrate soon) and cheaper prices. The tracking specs are similar to the other manufacturers of GPS-PTTs. I have never worked with Xerius tags but I visited their lab and they struck me by their attention to details and the quality of the hardware they created.

I will keep you posted.

Hi Yvan,

Glad you have chosen Xerius as from what I have seen their equipment is excellent and I was very impressed with their telemetry knowledge. We have one of their goniometer units and this has enabled us to locate a number of our downed satellite tagged birds.

As for making up dummy tags and testing harnesses then another option is Polymorph, especially if you are working on a limited budget after paying for a number of tags! You just drop the beads  into boiling water and mould into the shapes you require easily making holes and grooves etc. It sets rapidly and as you say the addition of nuts and bolts get you to your required weights.