TrackLab GPS Analysis
TrackLab is the optimal software tool for analysing the tracks from Biotrack GPS Tags. It has been specifically developed with wildlife tracking in mind and contains specific features for data import and preparation, visualization, analysis and behaviour detection. Furthermore, you can create interactive systems that respond in real-time to the location or spatial behaviour of subjects being tracked.
For more detailed information and product specifications, please see the TrackLab website.
TrackLab was created in a joint development between Biotrack and Noldus IT, together with several academic partners, in the EU-funded research project, E-Track.
As with all measurement systems, GPS location systems have errors associated with them. The size of the error varies according to atmospheric conditions, the location of the subjects (for example, tall buildings can block satellite reception), and movement of the subject.
TrackLab incorporates data processing algorithms to remove outliers and smooth the data, which have been specially designed to improve the quality of GPS track data and has been tested with Biotrack collars.
In addition to analysing the data from your GPS tags, TrackLab also lets you import all sorts of other data such as 3D accelerometer data and manually scored behaviours. Furthermore there is also a powerful function to select and edit individual tracks to improve your data quality, so that for instance you can select the points which have improbably high accelerations and remove them.
You can explore and view your GPS tag data in a variety of ways:
The analysis parameters for your GPS tag data include distance and time (distance moved, speed), location (time in zone, distance to point), path shape (relative and absolute heading, turn angle, meander) and movement behaviour (speed based classification). For all the parameters, the average, maximum and minimum values are given. Over 50 parameters are calculated for each track and interval.
Interval selection is a very powerful feature of TrackLab. If you create zones, you can calculate all the statistics for whilst your subjects were in the zone. For instance, how fast was the fox moving when it was in its home range? Or what was the meander of the horse whilst it was foraging?
You can also create intervals according to a variety of other criteria including a classification based on velocity thresholds, time and imported events such as data from sensors or manually-scored behaviours. These criteria can all be used to create independent start and stop criteria for intervals. For instance, you can quantify the searching behaviour of the badger whilst it was in its home range during the first half of the evening.
New technology in tracking systems has meant that GPS tracks from Biotrack tags are increasingly accurate. That has opened up new possibilities in terms of increased information which can be obtained from the data. If your behaviours can be separated on the basis of a relatively straightforward parameter such as velocity (e.g. standing/foraging/running/flying), you can classify them off-the-shelf in TrackLab.
If you need a more complex classification (e.g. combining accelerometer and GPS data ), Noldus can work with you to implement that for the species you are working with. TrackLab has functions to enable you to import external data such as 3D accelerometer data or manually scored behaviours.
The figure above shows the tracks of several cows which were being used to manage a nature reserve, in which their behaviour was classified using long segments (searching) and short segments (foraging).
If you are using suitable hardware, such as a WildCell collar, you can use TrackLab to build real-time interactive systems. TrackLab is able to provide its data real-time to other software. For instance, when an animal enters a zone or starts moving, that generates an event, which can be communicated to another program.
Furthermore, you can control TrackLab using an Android app, so that you do not have to be sitting next to the computer to start and stop the tracks in the software. TrackLab’s real-time integration opens up a whole set of possibilities, and Noldus (TrackLab’s manufacturers) will be happy to help you configure it to your particular needs.