What to Ask When Purchasing Wildlife GPS Equipment
If you are a first time buyer in the market for GPS tracking devices for wildlife research you might have discovered by now that you have many choices when it comes to suppliers. There is no shortage of supply, new companies appear and old ones go away, this market is in a state of flux. That should be one of your primary concerns, how long has a company been in business? Will they be there when you need them?
You may also want to consider the location of the company you choose. While it is not too difficult to transport equipment over vast distances, what about customer support? Will you be getting customer support in a timely manner or is your vendor just wrapping up their work day when you are just starting yours, or vice versa?
Think about whether or not you are willing to use GPS tracking devices that are off the shelf with little choice of nuance or are they custom made for the species you are working with?
Ask how long the product has been in production. This is a double edged sword. While it is desirable to have a long history of successful field work done with a particular type of GPS collar or GPS backpack that may mean that the technology has been surpassed by something better. On the other hand, if a wildlife GPS design is brand new will you be buying a reliable product? Can the vendor supply you with references who you can speak to before buying?
Is there enough information about the product available online? Are there video tutorials and FAQs so that you can help yourself when you run into the inevitable difficulty?
Of course you have to be able to afford the equipment but what is the point of buying something for a low price if it isn’t the right tracking device? And don’t forget when thinking about price that most manufacturers do not offer refurbishment services for small GPS collars and GPS backpacks. Refurbishment at Telemetry Solutions is offered on everything and at a fraction of the cost of a new device. Therefore you can fairly amortize the equipment cost over multiple years.