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More versatile small GPS tracking collar for wildlife

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

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

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.

The future of wildlife telemetry.

April 28th, 2010

From the manufacturing end of things wildlife telemetry has certainly gotten more interesting in the last few years.  When I started in this industry in 1979 it was just a question of how big your transmitter was going to be.  Then in the 80’s along came GPS.  Our friends in The Great White North broke that market open and slowly during the 90’s others jumped on that bandwagon.  Telemetry Solutions jumped on in 2006 with our own GPS wildlife tracking design. That was interesting for us but in 2007 it really started to get interesting when we developed a GPS unit that only weighed 15 grams.  But that’s just the electronic weight, with the battery it was over 25 grams.  Still exciting though, at least in 2007.

Then in 2008 a wildlife biologist from The U.S. Forest Service presented himself in our office asking for even smaller GPS collars.  I’ve told this story here before.  He asked to take a unit back to The Sierras to prove to his boss that the technology would work and he also asked us to reduce the product size and weight and add remote download.  He left, we exchanged a few emails and yada, yada, yada we came up with a product that would work for him.   So the answer to the question “Where is this all headed?” is this, -Wherever you tell us to head it!  You, the customers, are in the driver’s seat.

A few months later we got a call asking for GPS for quail.  The young guy on the phone asked his question and before I could answer he said, “I know, it’s going to be 3 more years right?”  I replied, “No, actually we can do that now.”  But I didn’t just pull one off the shelf, we had to put some effort into it.  Last week a bird biologist told me that our 5.9 gram GPS was “too heavy.”  Hello Betty!  I think I’ve blogged about this before too, I heard it at a conference once.  “Ok, what will it take?” I asked.  His reply – 4 grams!  This includes battery weight friends.

After we hung up, I waited for everyone to leave the office and sat here with the electronics on my desk, just staring at it wondering how we can reduce the weight.  It’s mostly battery, the GPS board only weighs 2.4 grams.  I used to ride motorcycles with a guy who would buy expensive carbon fiber parts to cut a few ounces off his Ducati.  He needed to lose 15 pounds himself but that would be too easy, so he bought carbon fiber instead.  But it’s that motorcycle racing mentality that I needed to be in so I sat down at a work bench and started in.  In 5 minutes I had cut .2 grams.  Not bad eh?  Then I cut another .3, that took a little longer.  Our engineers worked on it some more the next day and we’re at 4.2 grams right now so there’s only .2 left to go to get to that magical 4 gram number.

Bird GPS under 7 grams with automatic data download to your PC exists now because someone emailed me and asked for it.

I have a friend with a masters degree in psychology who likes to tell his friends that certain feelings, thoughts, behaviors, etc are “on them.”  Well now I’m telling you that whatever direction that wildlife telemetry is headed is on you.  So take 5 minutes and write an email, better yet, pick up the phone and tell us where you want this to go.

And check us out on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/TelemetrySolutions

Quintin

Wildlife tracking and the mystery of the technology

March 9th, 2010

As we have miniaturized and moved GPS wildlife tracking toward smaller and smaller species we find that there is some confusion about how the products can meet customers’ needs.  Without understanding the products you won’t know if our products are right for you or not?  Our website is chock-a-block with useful information.  You’ve come this far, give us a call, it takes 2 minutes to listen to your needs and point you in the right direction.  And we have an entire series of non Academy Award winning videos that endeavor to enlighten one about our products and their capabilities. Phone 1-925-798-1942 or email sales@telemetrysolutions.com