Camera traps have been a key part of the conservation toolkit for decades. Remotely triggered video or still cameras allow researchers and managers to monitor cryptic species, survey populations, and support enforcement responses by documenting illegal activities. Increasingly, machine learning is being implemented to automate the processing of data generated by camera traps.
A recent study published showed that, despite being well-established and widely used tools in conservation, progress in the development of camera traps has plateaued since the emergence of the modern model in the mid-2000s, leaving users struggling with many of the same issues they faced a decade ago. That manufacturer ratings have not improved over time, despite technological advancements, demonstrates the need for a new generation of innovative conservation camera traps. Join this group and explore existing efforts, established needs, and what next-generation camera traps might look like - including the integration of AI for data processing through initiatives like Wildlife Insights and Wild Me.
Our past Tech Tutors seasons featured multiple episodes for experienced and new camera trappers. How Do I Repair My Camera Traps? featured WILDLABS members Laure Joanny, Alistair Stewart, and Rob Appleby and featured many troubleshooting and DIY resources for common issues.
For camera trap users looking to incorporate machine learning into the data analysis process, Sara Beery's How do I get started using machine learning for my camera traps? is an incredible resource discussing the user-friendly tool MegaDetector.
And for those who are new to camera trapping, Marcella Kelly's How do I choose the right camera trap(s) based on interests, goals, and species? will help you make important decisions based on factors like species, environment, power, durability, and more.
Finally, for an in-depth conversation on camera trap hardware and software, check out the Camera Traps Virtual Meetup featuring Sara Beery, Roland Kays, and Sam Seccombe.
And while you're here, be sure to stop by the camera trap community's collaborative troubleshooting data bank, where we're compiling common problems with the goal of creating a consistent place to exchange tips and tricks!
Header photo: ACEAA-Conservacion Amazonica
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17 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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The British Ecological Society's journals always have topics that will interest our conservation tech community - in this particular issue, you'll find research on a large-scale camera trapping effort to monitor mammals, as well as the role of citizen science in data analysis for that project.
New paper - An evaluation of platforms for processing camera-trap data using artificial intelligence
13 January 2023 12:14am
We review key characteristics of four AI platforms—Conservation AI, MegaDetector, MLWIC2: Machine Learning for Wildlife Image Classification and Wildlife Insights—and two auxiliary platforms—Camelot and Timelapse—that incorporate AI output for processing camera-trap data. We compare their software and programming requirements, AI features, data management tools and output format. We also provide R code and data from our own work to demonstrate how users can evaluate model performance.
New paper - Real-time alerts from AI-enabled camera traps using the Iridium satellite network: A case-study in Gabon, Central Africa
13 January 2023 12:12am
Sending real-time alerts from ecological sensors such as camera traps in areas with poor data connectivity is complex and involves integrating a large number of potentially complex hardware and software components. Our results demonstrate that these components can be successfully integrated to achieve reliable, near real-time alerts from camera traps under challenging field conditions.
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New paper - Snapshot of the Atlantic Forest canopy: surveying arboreal mammals in a biodiversity hotspot
28 November 2022 4:11pm
Arboreal camera trapping confirms occurrence of the thin-spined porcupine and several critically endangered species in Caparaó National Park, Brazil.