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Looking for a place to discuss camera trap troubleshooting, compare models, collaborate with members working with other technologies like machine learning and bioacoustics, or share and exchange data from your camera trap research? Get involved in our Camera Traps group! All are welcome whether you are new to camera trapping, have expertise from the field to share, or are curious about how your skill sets can help those working with camera traps. 

discussion

Average speed system needed

Dear group, I am still on the trail of system that will help us to slow traffic down. We have incidentally started monitoring speed with a plastic bag marker  and...

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Dear Sam,

PS. As a starter we could easily have rumble strips put in to slow traffic down at teh beginning and teh end so that the vehicles would not be flying past your detector. 

I do understand this challenge as when collecting data over 700 metre stretches using a stopwatch we tried to catch numberplates with a standard motion camera and unless the vehicles were slow we never got the number plate.

 PPS 4 - 800 should have been 4-8000 THOUSAND

Hi Gregory,

That is quite shocking to hear that a road could be so detrimental to wildlife. If you were able to place a speed hump or rumble strip where you place the camera you could even embed the metal detecting sensor in them to ensure accurate detection of every vehicle when they are going slower.

Our camera takes a burst of images and this can be set to be quite a quick burst or a slower burst so with a little bit of testing I am sure we could get the numberplates.

I am assuming that a lot of time these collisions happen at night. Would there be a way to have a fixed light at the camera locations as otherwise the cameras can be blinded by headlights and taillights making reading the VRN difficult.

At the moment our system is satellite connected. This does have a relatively high monthly data cost. We are also planning to develop a cellular version but this will require more funding and development time that we have not got yet.

The system is in the final stages of development and we plan to launch it in mid-2020 once it has undergone some prolonged field trials at ZSL sites, so it is not currently available. Final costings are still under review and will be released early next year.

I am sorry that we are not able to provide this capability to you right now. 

Have you found any commercially available camera systems? In the UK I believe the automatic number plate recognition cameras placed on gantrys over motorways are called SPECS and a quick google said they are sold by a company called Jenoptik. If you find out how much they are and how they work, perhaps you could update this thread?

Thanks,

Sam 

 

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discussion

Virtual Meetup Discussion: Camera Trapping

Hi Wildlabbers,  I'm looking forward to kicking of...

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Thanks Sam, presumably you have lots more power than would be available from the battery in a tracking collar.

Peter

The Base Station where the data is sent using LoRa to be backhauled by satellite will definitely require larger batteries than a tracking tag!

However, we have tried to ensure that despite this the Base Station can be carried on foot by a small team to wherever it needs to be deployed. To do this we have designed a battery pack based on a small lead acid car battery, and no single item should weigh more than 6Kg so the weight can be distributed. 

Our cameras and sensor endpoints contain internal rechargeable lithium ion batteries which are also bigger than a tag could have.

However, for a tracking tag it could still use a small battery as LoRa radios are very low power and the tag would only send the data to the Base Station when it is within range. This could be done by either the tag having a geo-fence feature - so it would know when it is close to a Base Station to try and send data - or the tag could try and communicate with a Base Station at set times of the day - at times when the Base Station can also be programmed to be awake. If the tag received nothing back after trying to connect it wouldn't try to send the data until another period of time.

For video transmission, LoRa is not a suitable protocol and you need to start looking at Microwave and TV Whitespace! 

Thanks Sam

I am looking at LoRa for high resolution GPS tracking, and the project also involves camera trapping at scent marking sites. Power is already limiting collar lifetime (most of it goes to the GPS rather than the LoRa module), but transmitting real time pictures from marking sites while the marking is going on would be neat.

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article

Camera Trapping: Incredibly Useful Resources List

Ariel Hammond
Ahead of the upcoming Camera Trapping Sympoisum, organiser Arie Hammond has compiled a list of key resources for camera trapping, covering everything from reading lists for beginners to data sets, models and tools for...

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article

Plant-Powered Camera Trap Breakthrough

Alasdair Davies
Microbial fuel cells, developed by Plant-powered Camera Trap Challenge winners Plant-E, have been used successfully with Xnor.ai's energy harvesting camera technology to capture what are thought to be the world's first...

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discussion

Panatraps: 360 camera traps

Hi! I've been working in the background on a project to try to push the world of wildlife camera trapping into new formats by looking for ways to hack 360 cameras. I want...

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event

WILDLABS Virtual Meetup Recording: Camera Trapping

WILDLABS Team
Our first event in Season Three of the WILDLABS Virtual Meetup Series is now available to watch, along with notes that highlight key takeaways from the talks and discussion. In the meetup, community members Roland Kays...

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discussion

Residents of the Forest: Camera Trap Educational series shows the diversity of Amazon dwellers

Hi all, We are producing a short camera trap video series that might interest some of you. It is named “Residents of the Forest: Educational series shows the...

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Check it out our new episode of the "Residents of the Forest"​ Camera Trap series about two Amazon ground-birds: White-Winged Trumpeter and the Spix’s Guan

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZevHJTZRDKE 

Hi all I am sharing the latest episode of WWF-Brazil web series "Residents of the Forest". The previously unseen images, obtained exclusively by WWF-Brasil, were captured by camera traps installed in the Chico Mendes Extractive Reserve, in the Brazilian State of Acre. Our seventh episode, focus on the White-Winged Trumpeter and the Spix’s Guan . The web series “Residents of the Forest” started last year, among the animals featured on the videos already released are the Pacarana, the tapir, some canids and anteaters from the Amazon.

The work with camera traps is a partnership between WWF-Brasil and other institutions, such as the Community Forest Producers Cooperative (Cooperfloresta), ICMBIO and the Residents and Producers Association of the Chico Mendes Extractive Reserve in Xapuri (Amoprex). Its aim is to monitor the conditions of the existing biodiversity in the Chico Mendes Extractive Reserve, in community forestry managed areas.

Check previous videos on your playlist: https://lnkd.in/eHhgDqA

"Residents of the Forest" Series: New episode brings images of the giant armadillo, the largest and rarest armadillo of the world The Amazon’s armadillos are the protagonists of the eighth episode of the series "Residents of the Forest". The new set of unpublished and exclusive images captured at the Chico Mendes Extractive Reserve, in the state of Acre (AC), shows different species of armadillos and brings various curiosities about one of the most distinctive animals of the Amazonian biome. Among the animals depicted in the film are the Southern naked-tailed armadillo (Cabassous unicinctus), the Nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctuo), the Greater long-nosed armadillo (Dasypus kappleri), and the giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus). They are shown digging, feeding, and even bathing! The images come from photographic traps installed inside the Resex.

 Read the full story at:

https://www.wwf.org.br/informacoes/english/?72004/Residents-of-the-Forest-Series-New-episode-brings-images-of-the-giant-armadillo-the-largest-and-rarest-armadillo-in-the-world 

Check the video at: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6iKlFJYal4 

Jaguar, cougar, jaguarundis and ocelot: In its last episode, the series “Residents of the Forest” brings images of the Amazon Felids

 

In its ninth and final episode, the web series “Residents of the Forest”, produced by WWF-Brasil since last year, brings another set of unpublished and exclusive camera-trap images. This time, the stars are the cats of the Amazon. Among the animals depicted in the video are jaguarundis (also known as the "gato-mourisco" or "moorish" cat in Portuguese), ocelots, cougars (also known as pumas), and jaguars.

 

Recorded during the last few months at the Chico Mendes Extractive Reserve (Resex) in the state of Acre, Brazil, the images were captured through tree-mounted camera traps that have motion sensors and record anything that moves. By doing so, these cameras could record scenes of animals in their natural environments during the day and night.

Watch it and check the playlist with all nine episodes at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1aO8739Htk&list=PLFfXasjdYEpLghWXIahnFMlVfrRdPkyBe

Read the full story at:

https://www.wwf.org.br/?72523/Jaguar-cougar-and-ocelot-In-its-last-episode-the-series-Residents-of-the-Forest-brings-images-of-the-large-Amazon-felids

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discussion

African leopard research - best camera trap?

Hi Everyone, I am looking to purchase new camera traps to undertake a leopard survey acorss private farmland in Namibia. I have not purchased cameras for a long time and there...

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Hi Louisa

I have exactly the same questions! 

Over the last few years there has been a proliferation of cheap camera traps flooding the market (Apeman, Distianert, Crenova...the list is long). I wouldn't normally recommend budget cameras like these (<$100) for research (quality control issues...), but keen to hear from others if they've worked OK for you. 

When I posted a similar question on Twitter, I had a few responses, which might be of interest (one vote for Apeman for arboreal trapping, various votes for Bushnell, which are a bit more expensive).

I think these are all infrared though, not white flash. 

If you do take the plunge on some of these cameras, we'd all be interested to hear how you get on!

Thanks

Ollie

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discussion

Solutions to Camera Trap Theft?

The issue of camera trap theft has plagued many of us for years. Our research team has been trying to find innovative solutions to this problem for a while now. I wrote a short...

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A few years ago this solution would have been thought of as nuts.

Have another cheap camera pointing at the expensive camera.

How it would work is like this.

The expensive camera or its housing detects it is being tampered with (tilt detector attached to a microcontroller).  The microcontroller is also attached to a small short range radio (NRF24L01).  This thing will be asleep all the time and use almost no power, until it is tilted. BOM (bill of materials) less than $10.

The cheap camera is so small it can mostly be buried underground. That is also controlled from a microcontroller, and that too has a small radio. However this radio needs to be listening all the time - BOM will go up with a bigger battery.  I've had luck with these cheap 'key fob' 808 cameras, they record video onto their own sd card. BOM probably about $30-40.

Now this wont stop someone stealing the cams, but might lead to an arrest. The argument about sticking a GPS in the housing is not convincing for me, a GPS is a very specific type of pcb usually featuring an easily identifyable antenna - so can just be ripped out.  If it were me it would be the first thing I'd look for.

I've used cheap chinese arduino pro-minis and 808 style cams for a while, and while its nice to stick PIRs etc on them to detect intruders etc, the result is usually an empty battery and an sd card full of spider or ant head shots.

If you wanted to scare the wrong-doers off at the moment of theft, then it would be possible to play an audio warning, or shout 'you are now being filmed' or replay the crackle of a walkie-talkie (search : arduino mp3 player). The expensive camera's transmitting radio signal could be picked up by more than one device you see? The noise could be coming from the left, the cam in the ground could be on the right.  These simple radios can have a range of 50+ metres, if you pick the right ones. There are other RF options, as well as GSM dialers of course.

If all this sounds a bit complex, with some work and thought these counter measures could be set and forget "black box devices".

Hi Paul,

Just curious about how you go about interfacing to 808 cameras: part of the problem is you don't always know which exact model you're getting (or at least I don't), how do you work around this?

Some time back I "discovered" the SQ11/SQ12 cameras and bought a couple.  Have you had any experience with them?  I don't think they're any easier to interface to, but theoretically they should all be identical.  A plus is you can get a waterproof housing for them.

Thanks,

-harold

For the 808s I normally go through links on the chucklohr website, the absolute oracle on 808s. My last purchase were Mate 808 1080P "spy" cameras, with a long camera cable, they do away with the whole plastic housing and just give you the board with components.  I ordered from their website in '17, but it seems they are all over the place on ebay ATM.

I tried the SQ11s, but they run awful hot - but for say, 2 minutes of video they work just fine - but minute, I had one working in a hat - thats how I know how hot they can get.

As for "Interface with the 808" I take this to mean 2 things :

a) how do you intercept the video signal to, say, send something to an email address

 - you don't, well at least I couldn't, you have to physically go and get the sd card out

b) how do you turn it on an off?

 - I unashamedly used this idea from Gordon Williams of Espruino fame :

https://www.espruino.com/Time+Lapse+Camera

You'll notice the clever hack to fire up the cam using 2 i/o pins simultaneously.

Now the cam I mentioned above, like them all, has a config text file, so here you set the image size, whether it starts filming when turned on - with some other basic settings such as date/time etc.

There are lots of gotchas with this, not least of which is when reset that that text file is overwritten with some (sane) defaults, which may not be the default you want.

I found the Mate 808 config did most things, all I had to do was turn the cam on and off - and I got this working with an Arduino pro mini 3.3v.

So the "smarts" can be on an Arduino, read sensors, if/else, film for 30 seconds, 60 seconds, dont film and so on - send an alert etc.

I toyed with the idea of "potting" the cam and Arduino in resin to suit the environment, but as I said, the greater part of it could be buried - just means breaking out the microphone, to say, the same length as the extended camera cable. 

The drawback with PIRs I found was all the false positives, had better luck with these small microwave "radar sensors" - Andreas did a fine recap on what was available about 2 years ago.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WiJJgIi3W0

 

 

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article

Instant Detect 2.0 emerges

Sam Seccombe
In the past six months Instant Detect 2.0 has physically emerged, with the first prototype systems built and ready for testing at the start of April. The ZSL team is now well into their optimisation and hardening phase...

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article

Automated Identification of Indonesian Rhinos

Cooper Oelrichs
In this case study, Cooper Oelrichs of Save Indonesian Endangered Species Fund (SIES) breaks down his proposal for the development and training of an automated rhino identification system from limited camera trap data.

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discussion

Data analysis question: More detections closer to set-up date

Dear friends: I am using camera traps to investigate wild boar population density and I am analysing data collected over 7 weeks. I broke them into four 12 or 13-day...

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Hey Eric

Thank you for your reply! the camera we used is Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Aggressor (Model 119776). The battery was showing one bar left from the start because we used rechargable batteries which seems to be able to last long enough though only showing one bar.

Eagle

Given that the rechargable batteries are starting out with lower voltage, I would suggest trying to run a test wherein you use standard alkaline or high powered Lithium as a test to see if that resolves your issue.   If it does, and you want to make sure you can still use rechargeable batteries, maybe consider something like:

https://www.amazon.com/AA-Batteries-Rechargeable-ECO-Friendly-Recyclable/dp/B079JFK22D/ref=sr_1_3?crid=3UY7WGNZXC31Q&keywords=lithium+rechargeable+aa+batteries&qid=1561989505&s=gateway&sprefix=lithium+rec%2Caps%2C173&sr=8-3

as those will maintain a full 1.5 v level until they totally run out of power.  Both NiCD and NiMH batteries exhibit a voltage drop as power depletes, which could be what is causing decreased detections.

There was a talk recently at ZSL where a similar thing was found using camera traps studying wild pigs in the Osa Penisula. Tracking and other audio evidence showed that the pigs populations were circumnavigating camera traps which appeared to be giving a reduced level of detection.  

 @ollie.wearn made an interesting point as he has found in his research that wild pigs are extremely sensitive to human or unfamiliar smells and will avoid anthing that holds the scent. Once the pigs know the cameras are there they are likely to avoid them. 

Something to think about as I would doubt it would be anything to do with those cameras. 

 

 

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discussion

Solutions for safely transporting camera traps?

Hi,  Does anyone have any go-to solutions for transporting camera traps securely and safely, especially on commercial flights?  Something like...

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Ollie I have all of my camera traps in Pelican Boxes but I buy camping foam and line the inside, then I buy 50mm foam and layer the cameras so they dont rest on each other and then foam on top, it sems to work well and my cameras get driven thousands of km over bad roads.

 

Paul

For transport of equipment on flights I suggest Pelican's line of cases called "Pelican Air".  They have slightly lighter shells so you don't run in to weight overage issues as much...

Eric

A cheaper alternative to Pelis is MAX cases. They are just as strong:

https://www.trifibre.co.uk/product-category/products-by-type/waterproof-cases/max-cases/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=ppc&utm_campaign=Search_MAX-Cases_Exact&gclid=Cj0KCQjw3uboBRDCARIsAO2XcYBSp1XbwS_KSQC-Y9brRjwKhJmjZjK6_vxT37LHrtLlr-uEavWuD0gaAgehEALw_wcB

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discussion

Cellular camera trap antennas - animal proofing?

Hi All, We have found that monkeys, baboons and elephants are breaking a lot of our cellular camera traps antenna. These animals love to chew on and manipulate the antennas...

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Hello Sam,

We've had good luck with these:

https://www.covertscoutingcameras.com/shop/covert-accessories/booster-antenna-for-wireless-cameras/

In high baboon areas we'll pass the cable through clear PVC tubing to prevent chewing.

The other thing we'll frequently do in areas we forecast problems is to pre-deploy broken or dummy equipment at the location for a couple of weeks.  We find that that deploying this "sacrificial" stuff sometimes reduces interest in the functional equipment after it is deployed after this initial period of acclimation.

Eric

 

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discussion

Advice and construction of camera traps.

Howdy geniuses. I'm writing from Australia with an interesting one for you. 6 months ago a group of us started a project that got initial seed funding from Google.org....

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here is there first publication and a test camera that theyre using.

 

https://www.wool.com/globalassets/start/about-awi/publications/beyond-the-bale-75-june-2018.pdf

Hi Toby, hi all,

I've been keeping very quiet about Instant Detect 2.0 on WildLabs as we wanted to ensure we didn't generate any hype or make any promises that we cannot fulfil....but I think we will have something that fits this brief almost exactly relatively soon and it would be a shame for the same work to be replicated. 

I have just returned from Kenya where I was testing our Instant Detect 2.0 prototypes and I am very pleased to report that the system is now working. We still have some optimisation work to do and we plan to run a number of longer trial deployments over a number of months later in the year to completely identify, and correct the sort of issues that only crop up over time and in the field. We plan to record and publish all the results from these trials.

Once we believe that the system is ready we hope to be able to supply it to the conservation community at a very low rate at the start of next year. Importantly it will be fully certified and legal to use, it is not 'hacky'. 

I am in the process of writing a blog about the testing but if you would like to know more perhaps we could have a chat sometime.

Best wishes,

Sam Seccombe

 

 

Adding my 2 cents here... and I'm being generous with the value of my comment, maybe just 1 cent... AI should be able to help a lot with the recognition tasks.  Edge Computing AI, done in the camera module might have to be custom developed for the application, but if you have the AI folks available might not be that hard. The trick is finding a very low power, low cost solution.  For that, I would recommend maybe looking into SqueezeNet, a super efficient Open Source Deep Neural Net created by UC Berkeley, Stanford and a company called DeepScale.   It is small enough and efficient enough that it can run on a smart phone or on the processor of a smart camera. 

DeepScale is using it for automotive applications, but it might be a good fit for this kind of application where you want to quickly decide on the edge what data is important and what data you can ignore and only send the important data to the cloud and discard the rest with an extremely high degree of reliability.

Cheers,

Drue

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discussion

Speed camera: Help needed to get traffic data

I need to post challenge for a problem that seemingly should be easy but is turning out to be an Internet trawling nightmare. For the purpose of data collection I need to...

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Hi Greg,

You are getting some great technical advice from folks a lot more qualified than me.   But as I read through everything, I see you are potentially wanting to use your solution for citing violations.  Whatever solution you install needs to be "future proof" for this from the start.  Not sure how that would work where you are (Zimbabwe, I believe?), but usually the accuracy of the speed reading and the vehicle identification has to be beyond reproach.  Calibration and accuracy, data integrity, etc., all need to be considered.

I would at least look into a buy vs. make decision (or a hybrid of the two) before committing to a completely homegrown solution.  It sounds like you only want to install one system.  You can find small but acurate radar systems and cameras pretty readily on amazon if you wanted a hybrid solution, or you could look into any one of the dozens of companies who make traffic speed monitoring equipment.  You already have a place to install, so that helps.  Some systems would be too expensive for your budgets or your needs, but some would be pretty reasonable.  Furthermore, those companies could potentially be enticed to provide a system at a substantial discount if they can consider it a charitable contribution.    But I'm just thinking out loud here, and maybe it would be difficult for these companies to ship a system to Zimbabwe.  

Just my 2 cents.

Drue

Dear Drue 

You are definitely correct regarding the need for any system to be reasonably accurate and very accurate should citations start to be issued. That actually was why I like the german system http://raserabwehr.de as it seems slightly more full proof than working on Doppler. If you could point me in the right direction for what you find on Amazon that would be great but as a package. The main thing is it must be easy to install and at a price that does the job.

Initially our intention will be to use it to monitor the road so we can work out which groups to target for awareness campaigns,  citations would be probably the last on our list.

 

Anyway thanks for your thoughts and if you come up with something do let us know.

 

Hi Greg,

Indeed, the German solution you identified might be a better solution than what I had found on Amazon, which were mostly Doppler solutions, and thinking more about it, would not give you the ability to do long term data analytics on the traffic patterns, which might be important to achieving your objectives.  A few alternatives to the German solution would be:

https://enforcementlogix.com (Canadian)

https://www.atsol.com/solutions/speed-safety/ (US)

Good luck,

Drue

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event

WILDLABS TECH HUB Showcase

WILDLABS Team
Join us at the Tech Hub Showcase event ot hear how our winners are using technology to scale their solutions to the illegal wildlife trade. The event will take place at Digital Catapult, 101 Euston Road, London, on the...

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article

Technology for Wildlife and the Looming Spectre of E-Waste

Laure Joanny
In this blog, Laure Joanny adds her perspectives to an ongoing discussion that we've been seeing in the community about conservation tech and it's relationship to e-waste. How do we tackle the challenge of battery waste...

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