Software and Mobile Apps / Feed

The software and apps used and built by the conservation tech community are as varied as the species and habitats we work to protect. From fighting wildlife crime to collecting and analyzing data to engaging the general public with unique storytelling, apps, software, and mobile games are playing an increasingly large role in our work. Whether you're already well-versed in the world of software, or you're a hardware expert looking for guidance from the other side of the conservation tech field, this group will have interesting discussions, resources, and ideas to offer.


Automatic extraction of temperature/moon phase from camera trap video

Hey everyone, I'm currently trying to automate the annotation process for some camera trap videos by extracting metadata from the files (mp4 format). I've been tasked to try...

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Hello Lyuboslava,

As you said, the first thing that came to mind was running a CV program to read the needed data. If the data does not change in the duration of the footage, then, in my humble opinion, it would be easiest to take a single frame from each clip and run an optical character recognition program to get the temperature.

The moon phase might pose a bit more of a challenge if the meta data truly is hidden. A different CNN program that is trained on the moon phases should suffice. But as you well know, not the simplest solution.

It's certainly possible that your camera(s) just aren't embedded structured metadata for this information.  But I wouldn't give up too quickly on looking for it, because extracting it from actual video frames is more challenging, less efficient, and less reliable.

EXIF / IPTC metadata is effectively limited to a finite set of pre-defined attributes, mostly centred around camera settings & author information, respectively.  You can check the latest specification to see precisely what is formally defined.  Ambient temperature actually is in there (and has been for a while) but there's nothing for astronomical data (although, can you not infer the moon phase based on the location & time data?).

It is alas a long-running issue that camera makers often misunderstand the specification and store data incorrectly (or not at all).

Camera makers can embed proprietary data in MakerNote fields, but the format is unspecified and standard tools (like exiftool) likely won't understand them for all but the most popular cameras (think Nikon, Canon, Sony, etc).  And possibly only for older models.

Many common image & video containers (e.g. JPEG and MP4) do support embeded XMP, an extensible format which allows model- and make-specific metadata.  It's possible that's in use in your case.  exiftool does not show embedded XMP data by default - at least not reliably.  In a nutshell, I suggest running exiftool as:

exiftool -D -g -G -ee -scanForXMP -u -U <PATH>

That's more likely to show you embedded XMP data, as well as all EXIF / IPTC tags (even those unrecognised by exiftool - you can at least get their raw bytes and work from there).  You can also add the `-v3` argument if you want to dig even harder, or see the raw data in more detail.

Another way some cameras store proprietary metadata is in proprietary tracks (e.g. GPMF for GoPros).  You can see if your files contain any such tracks via:

ffmpeg -i <PATH>

Usually these are used for metadata which can change during a recording, as EXIF / IPTC / XMP have no real support for that.  But some camera makers use them even for static metadata out of e.g. laziness or hubris.

Extracting such tracks is easy enough with tools like ffmpeg, but interpreting them can be challenging if their format is not documented like GoPro's GPMF.

Can you provide a sample file for us to examine?

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Data integration platforms

Anyone working in data integration or know of any other existing tools such as Palantir or Vulcan's EarthRanger?

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Thanks Jes,

I'll definitely be following OpenCollar. Sounds like a great initiative and hope at some point I can contribute. 

How do you integrate with the satellite collar providers currently? Do they have APIs? What are the most popular providers?

Sorry I missed the Variety Hour this month!!  

Casey, we need to talk... about ICCN, MONUSCO, and this 'Gundi' stuff:


Do you guys use the SMART stuff there? (what they use at Kahuzi-Biega and many other parks in DRC...) Vulcan's EarthRanger looks to be the similar-but-different

Do you have enough bandwidth where you are for a Zoom call sometime?




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Insight; a secure online platform designed for sharing experiences of conservation tool use.

A secure platform designed for those working to monitor & protect natural resources. Insight facilitates sharing experience, knowledge & tools to increase efficiency & effectiveness in conservation. By sharing we reduce time & money spent to find, test, & implement solutions.


TWS2023 - get in touch

Hi, I'll stick around at the TWS2023 Louisville with our friends from e-obs to do some live Firetail demos and discuss your ideas and requirements. Would be great to get in...

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I'm registered with the TWS2023 app, so feel free to nudge me there as well

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Payment for ecosystem services - mobile money case study?

Hello everyone! I'm writing an article for the GSMA's flagship annual report on the intersection of mobile money and payment for ecosystem services. I'm looking to...

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The folks at AB Entheos in Nairobi are also looking at wild life damage insurance

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DeepFaune: a software for AI-based identification of mammals in camera-trap pictures and videos

Hello everyone, just wanted to advertise here the DeepFaune initiative that I lead with Vincent Miele. We're building AI-based species recognition models for camera-trap...

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Hello to all, new to this group. This is very exciting technology. can it work for ID of individual animals? we are interested in Ai for identifying individual jaguars (spots) and andean Bears (face characteristics). Any recommendation? contact? thanks!


That's a very interesting question and use case (I'm not from deepfaune). I'm playing with this at the moment and intend to integrate it into my other security software that can capture and send video alerts. I should have this working within a few weeks I think.

The structure of that software is that it is two stage, the first stage identifies that there is an animal and it's bounding box and then there's a classification stage. I intend to merge the two stages so that it behaves like a yolo model so that the output is bounding boxes as well as what type of animal it is.

However, my security software can cascade models. So if you were able to train a single stage classifier that identifies your particular bears, then you could cascade all of these models in my software to generate an alert with a video saying which bear it was.

Hi @GermanFore ,

I work with the BearID Project on individual identification of brown bears from faces. More recently we worked on face detection across all bear species and ran some tests with identifying Andean bears. You can find details in the paper I linked below. We plan to do more work with Andean bears in 2024.

I would love to connect with you. I'll send you a message with my email address.



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Software for recording field data?

Heya - I'm after modernising our field data collection process from paper records to directly digitised recording. I'm planning on getting 2-3 tablets, and am looking for apps...

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Have a look at kobocollect, very easy to use and reliable, can collect data and then send them to the cloud when you have internet.

Other solution:

QField - Efficient field work built for QGIS

SMART Conservation Software - Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (

EarthRanger: Protecting Wildlife With Real-Time Data

I second Kobo/CyberTracker for tracks, but if you have money for an ArcGIS Online license, Survey123 is great (offline use - but can't record tracks)

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Conservation Systems Developer

New senior position in IUCN’s Science and Data Centre. Supporting, developing and maintaining the technological foundation that underpins The IUCN Red List of Threatened species and its underlying database.

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MoveApps: A Digital Home for Tracking Data Analysis

In this Conservation Tech Showcase case study from 2022 Conservation Tech Award winner MoveApps, you’ll learn how they’re breaking new ground in animal movement research with tracking data analysis tools hosted by the...

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Firetail 11 - GPS and sensor analysis

I'm very happy to announce  that Firetail 11 is now available, including an all-new website! (yay!)Version 11 features a great set of options for researchers,...

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Hi Tobias! 

This sounds great and I am looking forward to trying it out after returning from field work! 

Very cool with the Vectronic Activity data! I am looking forward to check How we can use that! 



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How are the Arts intersecting with Conservation Technology in a rapidly changing world? 

The Arts, Culture, Technology and Climate Change. Do they have a place together and can they successfully intersect to generate new sustainable realities? This is a current...

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