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Archive for the 'Message from the Founder' Category

Where is wildlife telemetry headed?

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

In 1979 I worked at a company that made VHF transmitters for wildlife. That was about 20 years removed from the start of all of this wildlife telemetry business and even then people talked about “remember when.”   Everything had gotten so much smaller by the late 70s, it was impressive. Fast forward to 2008.  Wow, we made a small GPS data logger, the electronics only weighed 15 grams.  By 2009 the weight was down to 2.5 grams.  That was mostly just us getting better at what we do rather than some leap in technology.  Now we’re halfway through 2010 and our lightest GPS data logger electronics (without battery) weighs only 1.3 grams.

But where is this taking us?  What else can we do?  There isn’t much more room for weight reduction.  I think that the direction we are headed in is more sensors that will work in conjunction with the GPS and more automated data collection systems even on the lightest devices.  Where do you want this technology to be in another year? Think about it and let me know.

Quintin

Tracking wildlife affected by the gulf oil spill

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

The oil spill has created a massive number of problems and it will obviously take a long time to identify them let along do something about them. But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that birds are being hard hit.  While it is easy to see the damage to birds on the shore what about the birds out at sea?  What’s going on with them? Can they even forage in the same place as before?  Our newest GPS data loggers for seabirds have a solution that identifies seabird foraging behavior and switches the GPS positioning schedule from the infrequent GPS location attempts with in straight flight to 1 second GPS location attempts while foraging.  Because the GPS data loggers are so light it is important to save the battery for use when it is really needed.

Quintin

More versatile small GPS tracking collar for wildlife

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

One of our team members here has been harping on an idea he wanted to try to eliminate the GPS antenna from the top of our small fisher GPS collars. He was sure it would be a smart move because without the GPS antenna knob on top of the collar we may have a happier fisher and customer too. So we tested it and it worked pretty well. It’s not going to work as well as the GPS antenna on top of the collar but it’s on the way to a fisher trapping session as I write this.

Available at 20 grams

We also put remote data download in it and Smart GPS and activity. We are supplying this one to the project just to see how well the new antenna idea works. Tracking wildlife is never easy and budgets are tight so we want the customers to get the most bang for their buck. The Smart GPS will go a long way toward that end because it can put an end to GPS location attempts during the time that the animals are sleeping inside trees where they don’t acquire GPS locations anyway. No point in burning battery for nothing.

Notice the lack of the GPS antenna on this collar. The whip antennas are for the UHF data download and the VHF transmitter.

Quintin

Run of the mill wildlife monitoring

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

When I wake up I don’t think to myself that I need to go out and track animals today.  You might but I don’t.  I think of things like, the microprocessor we use in our GPS collar has a long lead time, better get some on order.  Or I think something like, we should add another test to our procedure for passing equipment through QA.  It’s pretty mundane stuff people.

You go out and get your boots muddy, you see things, you hike for a living!  I’m stuck here writing this blog.  So do me a favor and call me with a tough problem, liven up my day for me.  If you just need GPS collars for deer, email that to Matt.  But if you really have a tricky situation CALL ME!!  The trickier the better.

And if you want to be more like me and never leave your office we’ll set you up with a wildlife monitoring system that allows you to do just that. Find a lackey to put your equipment on the animals and use our automatic, remote download system to send you data to your desktop. It works.

Quintin Kermeen

GPS jackets

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Have you always wished there was an alternative form of GPS tracking device for your study animal simply because you can’t put collars on them? For instance, monkeys are smart enough to have their buddies take their collars off. Another example would be river otters. They just shed the collar because of the size of their heads. So, what can you do to overcome the problem? One of our customers who studies howler monkeys had a brilliant idea of having jackets made for them and sewed GPS device into the jackets! As you can see in the photo, the monkey looks perfectly comfortable in the jacket. And more importantly, the GPS device worked! When our river otter customer told us that he was going to have his wife sew jackets for the otters, we suggested the jacket company that the monkey customer had the jackets made from. We get inquires from our customers over the world often looking for solutions to their problems. Our mission is to provide information we have to those people with our knowledge and help them get data from their study animal in a way that is no harm to the animal. And we enjoy our challenging work that keeps coming in.