PLOS ONE | VOL. 17
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Micro-sized open-source and low-cost GPS loggers below 1 g minimise the impact on animals while collecting thousands of fixes

Publication Date Jun 29, 2022

Abstract

GPS-enabled loggers have been proven as valuable tools for monitoring and understanding animal movement, behaviour and ecology. While the importance of recording accurate location estimates is well established, deployment on many, especially small species, has been limited by logger mass and cost. We developed an open-source and low-cost 0.65 g GPS logger with a simple smartphone-compatible user interface, that can record more than 10,000 GPS fixes on a single 30 mAh battery charge (resulting mass including battery: 1.3 g). This low-budget ‘TickTag’ (currently 32 USD) allows scientists to scale-up studies while becoming a ‘wearable’ for larger animals and simultaneously enabling high-definition studies on small animals. Tests on two different species (domestic dog, Canis lupus familiaris and greater mouse-eared bats, Myotis myotis) showed that our combination of optimised hardware design and software-based recording strategies increases the number of achievable GPS fixes per g device mass compared to existing micro-sized solutions. We propose that due to the open-source access, as well as low cost and mass, the TickTag fills a technological gap in wildlife ecology and will open up new possibilities for wildlife research and conservation.

Concepts

Greater Mouse-eared Bats GPS Fixes GPS Logger Canis Lupus Familiaris Wildlife Ecology Monitoring Animal Behaviour Understanding Animal Behaviour Small Species Small Animals Simple Interface

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No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors. The conception and design of the study, acquisition of data, analysis and interpretatio...

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