With new technologies revolutionizing data collection, wildlife researchers are becoming increasingly able to collect data at much higher volumes than ever before. Now we are facing the challenges of putting this information to use, bringing the science of big data into the conservation arena. With the help of machine learning tools, this area holds immense potential for conservation practices. The applications range from online trafficking alerts to species-specific early warning systems to efficient movement and biodiversity monitoring and beyond.
However, the process of building effective machine learning tools depends upon large amounts of standardized training data, and conservationists currently lack an established system for standardization. How to best develop such a system and incentivize data sharing are questions at the forefront of this work. There are currently multiple AI-based conservation initiatives, including Wildlife Insights and WildBook, that are pioneering applications on this front.
This group is the perfect place to ask all your AI-related questions, no matter your skill level or previous familiarity! You'll find resources, meet other members with similar questions and experts who can answer them, and engage in exciting collaborative opportunities together.
Just getting started with AI in conservation? Check out our introduction tutorial, How Do I Train My First Machine Learning Model? with Daniel Situnayake, and our Virtual Meetup on Big Data. If you're coming from the more technical side of AI/ML, Sara Beery runs an AI for Conservation slack channel that might be of interest. Message her for an invite.
Understanding the possibilities for incorporating new technology into your work can feel overwhelming. With so many tools available, so many resources to keep up with, and so many innovative projects happening around the world and in our community, it's easy to lose sight of how and why these new technologies matter, and how they can be practically applied to your projects.
Machine learning has huge potential in conservation tech, and its applications are growing every day! But the tradeoff of that potential is a big learning curve - or so it seems to those starting out with this powerful tool!
To help you explore the potential of AI (and prepare for some of our upcoming AI-themed events!), we've compiled simple, key resources, conversations, and videos to highlight the possibilities:
Three Resources for Beginners:
- Everything I know about Machine Learning and Camera Traps, Dan Morris | Resource library, camera traps, machine learning
- Using Computer Vision to Protect Endangered Species, Kasim Rafiq | Machine learning, data analysis, big cats
- Resource: WildID | WildID
Three Forum Threads for Beginners:
- I made an open-source tool to help you sort camera trap images | Petar Gyurov, Camera Traps
- Batch / Automated Cloud Processing | Chris Nicolas, Acoustic Monitoring
- Looking for help with camera trapping for Jaguars: Software for species ID and database building | Carmina Gutierrez, AI for Conservation
Three Tutorials for Beginners:
- How do I get started using machine learning for my camera traps? | Sara Beery, Tech Tutors
- How do I train my first machine learning model? | Daniel Situnayake, Tech Tutors
- Big Data in Conservation | Dave Thau, Dan Morris, Sarah Davidson, Virtual Meetups
Want to know more about AI, or have your specific machine learning questions answered by experts in the WILDLABS community? Make sure you join the conversation in our AI for Conservation group!
At the 2018 London Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference, we announced the WILDLABS Tech Hub, an accelerator programme created to support the development and scaling of groundbreaking technological solutions addressing the ...
13 April 2020
At the 2018 London Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference, we announced the WILDLABS Tech Hub, an accelerator program created to support the development and scaling of groundbreaking technological solutions addressing the ...
26 March 2020
Trapped inside during the COVID-19 quarantine and looking to engage with conservation science without leaving your desk? Citizen science projects like those on Zooniverse offer a great opportunity to impact scientific...
18 March 2020
Machine learning is rapidly expanding as a useful field research tool, but its complexity can intimidate even seasoned tech conservationists. Edge Impulse aims to make machine learning solutions accessible,...
16 March 2020
The Esri Conservation Program is now accepting applications for grant assistance to access its ArcGIS Solutions for Protected Area Management Application. This system provides access to a suite of both mobile and web...
4 March 2020
Are you ready for the Plastic Data Challenge? This global contest wants your innovative ideas for improving the plastic waste management and recycling chain in South and Southeast Asia. Participants can consider...
3 March 2020
The 2020 Tusk Awards are now accepting nominations of outstanding individuals who have made a significant impact on conservation in Africa. These nominations offer the rare and exciting opportunity to honor your peers...
3 March 2020
Conservation X Labs welcomes you to enter the Artisanal Mining Grand Challenge, a competition aimed at finding new and innovative solutions to the environmental problems caused by mining operations. This competition...
26 February 2020
Researchers are increasingly placing microphones in forests and other ecosystems to monitor birds, insects, frogs, and other animals. As the technology advances and becomes less costly, proponents argue, bioacoustics is...
24 February 2020
The Arribada Initiative is back with an update on their thermal elephant alert system which aims to reduce human-elephant conflict (HEC). The success of their system rests on the ability of a camera to accurately...
17 February 2020
Applications are now open for a second round of the £10 million UK Seafood Innovation Fund to transform the future landscape of the seafood industry.
11 February 2020
Fueled by Artificial Intelligence, Wildlife Insights provides access to over 4.5 million camera trap records.
17 December 2019
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New article: Domain-specific neural networks improve automated bird sound recognition already with small amount of local data
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Hierarchical Deep Learning to Improve Automatic Classification of Pests and Biodiversity Monitoring in Agroecosystems
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New paper: Integrating machine learning, remote sensing and citizen science to create an early warning system for biodiversity
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Opinion paper describing "how data acquired from remote sensing, citizen science & other monitoring approaches could feed in near-real time to an early warning system for biodiversity that integrates automated red-listing of species with the identification of priority areas for conservation."
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