New High Resolution Activity Sensor

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Wild
life

New High Resolution Activity Sensor

Introduction

Activity (or more accurate acceleration) data has been used in (wildlife) sciences for quite a while now and is getting more important each year. It closes a gap in animal observation with GPS data alone as jagged or stretched GPS fix pattern generate a broad picture only and might lead to misinterpretations (activity between fixes?!). Activity data supplements the GPS data for locomotion and migration and can help us highlighting what the animal is doing at each (time) point.

Activity Sensor - Data recording on 3 axis
Activity Sensor – Data recording on 3 axis

Details

The VERTEX Plus collar is equipped with a new high resolution activity sensor which greatly enhances the potential usage of activity data. True acceleration is measured continuously on three axes (x, y and z) and stored in the non-volatile on-board memory. In contrast to previous sensor models used, data is neither averaged nor processed but stored as true acceleration raw data generating a massive amount of information. This data is detailed enough to not only observe general pattern but to distinguish distinct behaviours and get a clear(er) picture on what the animal is doing.

External Activity Logger for GPS Plus and GPS Pro Light collars
External Activity Logger for GPS Plus and GPS Pro Light collars
  • Data recording with 2, 4, 8, 16 or 32Hz*
  • Storing raw data
  • Huge on-board memory capacity (e.g. up to 5 years with 8Hz recording)
  • Transformable to mirror „GPS Plus“ activity modes**
  • Available as a Stand-Alone device too***

 

* Meaning 2,4,8,16 or 32 measurements per second.

** Our customers have been generating fantastic data sets with the previous models generating averaged data only (e.g. a value for every 5 minutes). To enable them pooling and comparing the data of the two sensor generations we are implementing a processing option for the new sensor to mirror old modes.

*** The downside of our unmatched reliability… We have collars out there which are working for a decade now. To enable our long-time customers using this new perspective we offer the new sensor as retrofitting external add-on for our GPS Plus and ProLight collars as well.

Applications

  • The vitreous animal:
    Distinguish distinct behaviours and pinpoint exactly when the animal is doing what. Couple this information with GPS data and reconstruct its whole story.
  • Daily Activity Patterns:
    Identify regularities in daily activity patterns, find resting times and activity peaks.
  • Seasonal Activity Patterns:
    Find out how activity changes during the seasons in regard of intensity, pattern and rhythmicity.
  • Animal Well-being:
    Find aberrations from the normal activity pattern and calculate Degrees of Functional Coupling (DFC) to assess animal welfare during your study time (e.g. during open hunting season, heat stress).

Data processing

The new sensor generates very big data sets easily exceeding the Gigabyte threshold in a few months only. This prevents any kind of data transfer except with the VECTRONIC Collar – Computer cable.

The data can be exported into *.csv and also ASCII *.txt file format.

The release of the new collar generation VERTEX Plus and the new sensor has been rather recently. We are still working on a software to visualize and analyse the data similar to what you have been able to with Activity Pattern.

We are also in contact with 3rd party companies to incorporate our data enabling the usage of their analysing software (mostly paid services).

Outlook

We are supporting several field-studies and should be able to post sample analysis and results very soon. We will of course also publish the updates with our own software as soon as possible. Please contact us if you need some more information or want to get in touch with other researchers.

Sensor comparison (Old Activity Sensor vs. New Activity Sensor)

The sensors vary in their functionality and also potential usage. Please check comparison below to get a feeling of the differences. Please refer to the FAQ Activity sensor rubrique for more information about the GPS Plus modes.

GPS PLUS Activity Sensor
(< 2015)
VERTEX PLUS Activity Sensor
(> 2015)
Data recording4 Hz on 3 axis2, 4, 8, 16 or 32 Hz on 3 axis
Data processingaveraging (mode depending)none
Axis usedmode depending
(e.g. Mode1:
1 value for x, y axis every 296s)
3 (x,y,z)
Optional data processingnoneconversion to GPS PLUS modes
Data storagemode dependingraw data
(+ GPS PLUS mode data)
Memory capacitydepending on sampling rate
(e.g. up to 5 years with Mode1)
depending on sampling rate
(e.g. up to 5 years with 8Hz)
Applicationactivity pattern, seasonal changes, rhythms+ behaviour recognition
(e.g. grazing, locomotion, vigilance)